He then signed a two year deal, and became our Matt Bradley replacement. It always seemed like when the team was down, Hendricks brought the guys back to life. With a fight. With a hit. With a goal. He really became the backbone of the team.
And what he does outside of the sport we all love is even more impressive. Hendricks is an avid supporter of Defending the Blue Line, an organization that helps children of military service members play and enjoy hockey. He supports You Can Play, the organization that offers support for LGBT athletes. During the NHL lockout, Hendricks went on a USO tour, meeting troops in Bahrain, Germany, Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan. It should come as a surprise to no one that Hendricks was nominated for the Bill Masterton Trophy, which is given to the player who shows true sportsmanship and dedication to the sport, in 2009 and 2011.
The Paralyzer did his job this year. During our terrible, terrible, start to the season, it was Hendricks who would drop the gloves. It was Hendricks who would block the shots. It was Hendricks who would show heart when others just seemed deflated.
And I’m worried. He becomes a free agent this offseason, and I’m not convinced he’s coming back. With a projected cap space of $6,146,302 this offseason, key pieces that need to be re-signed, and an understandable pay increase for Hendricks, I’m not sure there is room for Hendricks. Now, that cap space number is surely to change, but that still doesn’t put me at ease. In April, fellow grinder Aaron Volpatti signed a two-year deal worth $1,150,000. That signing didn’t make much sense to me, because I simply don’t think Volpatti is a regular for this team. But, with that signing, including fellow 3rd and 4th liners Jay Beagle, Mathieu Perreault, Eric Fehr, Jason Chimera, Joel Ward and a late season Tom Wilson sighting, is there really any room for Hendricks?
I hope I’m wrong. It would be a huge mistake if McPhee chooses not to sign Hendricks. He is a guy with high character, who can pick the team up when they are down, and that is just the type of guy this team needs.
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