The Washington Capitals have an outsanding top six forward group comprised with players such as Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Ribeiro and the newly signed Troy Brouwer. Past the top six forwards, the Washington roster is comprised of various role players. One leader in the bottom six is gritty enforcer, Matt Hendricks.
Hendricks, 26, will enter his third season in the Washington Capitals organization whenever the season starts and looks to produce some of the numbers he did in his first year with the Capitals. He produced a career high 25 points in 77 games during the 2010-2011 campaign, tallying nine goals and six assists. He still played his main role as an enforcer that year, registering 110 penalty minutes, 15 more PIM than last season.
Hendricks was orginally drafted by the Nashville Predators in the fifth round of the 2000 NHL entry draft, but failed to play one game in the NHL with the Predators. He spent time in the AHL playing for various teams including the Milwakee Admirals, Lake Erie Monsters and the Providence Bruins. The tough minded center than moved on to the Washington Capitals organization, paying his dues in the AHL before finally reaching the big leagues. Hendricks produced 44 points with the Hershey Bears during the 2006-2007 season.
Hendricks made an impact on the Capitals roster immediately, becoming a fan favorite while staying healthy, playing in at least 77 games the past two seasons. He stands up for his teammates as many hockey fans saw in the HBO 24/7 documentary surrounding the Winter Classic between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins.
Hendricks knows his role as enforcer, but should continue to grow into a player who can potentially contribute 30 points a season. He looks to become a third line winger heading into the upcoming season, likely playing with Brooks Laich and another winger, possibly Joey Crabb.
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