What Happens to Matt Hendricks? | Oilersnetwork.com - Edmonton Oilers News and Rumours

What Happens to Matt Hendricks?

The Edmonton Oilers are 5-1-0 to start the season. It's the best start the Oilers have had in years and they're getting contributions, not just from the top line, but the bottom line in their victories. Players like Tyler Pitlick, Anton Lander and Mark Letestu have been integral parts of the success of the team and none of the players deserve to be removed from the line-up, nor should they be while the Oilers are on a roll.

What then does that mean for a player like Matt Hendricks?

The Injury Bug


Edmonton lost some key players to injury to start the year. One of those players was Matt Hendricks who was diagnosed with a lower body injury and is out week-to-week. At the time it was a pretty big loss. Hendricks was looked to as an on-ice and off-ice leader and a player who would stand up for his team, often giving them the boost they needed when things were not going well.

In six games, the Oilers haven't missed him. Things are firing on all cylinders and the Oilers have plenty of sandpaper, grit and team leadership getting them through the first part of the year.

That said, the season is still young and should Hendricks be out for more than a week or two, there is plenty of time for the Oilers to lose a few games and slide a bit in the standings. Maybe at that point they'll miss him, but, what if they don't? What if the Oilers keep winning?

What Happens Then?


It's a great problem to have should the Oilers stay on this roll that they're on. But, with any team success comes the "what have you done for me lately?" question. Matt Hendricks may fall victim to that scenario and on the final year of his contract, his exit may come sooner than later.

Hendricks is being paid $1.85 million to play on the fourth line. With the depth in the Oilers organization, he's nothing more than a fourth line player and that's a hefty salary for a player that could be replaced by a more cap-friendly contact.

Players have been clearing waivers on a regular basis in the NHL. For example, Milan Michalek out of Toronto is just another player who at one point was considered an excellent piece on an NHL club and is now an after-thought. It wouldn't be surprising if Hendricks cleared waivers.

If He's Claimed

If Hendricks is claimed, Edmonton will have moved a salary that, while not eating at their current cap, is one the Oilers would be glad to get off the books. Drake Caggiula is still recovering from injury, but would be ready to fill any void left by his departure. As would Jujhar Khaira who is ready to go now.

Things aren't looking up for Hendricks whose future is on borrowed time in Edmonton. When he recovers from injury, another player's injury or some dramatic decline in play of someone currently holding a roster spot would have to happen for him to get back into the fold. If that doesn't happen, he won't have much of an opportunity to make a case for himself in the NHL.

Hendricks has been a soldier for the Edmonton Oilers. His career here in Edmonton isn't coming to a certain close, but the way the Oilers are playing, the odds of him making a triumphant return are going down and down.

But, who cares what I think right? For now, I'll just keep my mouth shut until I feel like spilling my guts again.





Jim Parsons is a business owner, husband, father and sports fan. For more information about Oilersnetwork.com founder and Oil Spill articles author Jim Parsons, click here.




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