Henrique, It’s Not Over: Devils Forward Set for Explosive Season

During the offseason, The Hockey Writers will be doing a ten-part series on the success stories of the 2013-14 New Jersey Devils. Despite missing the postseason for the second consecutive spring, the Devils had a memorable season that they can build upon for the 2014-15 season. The seventh success story focuses on forward Adam Henrique, who is looking to carry his strong second half of the 2013-14 campaign into his fourth year in the NHL.

Adam Henrique Provided Many Clutch Moments to Open His NHL Career

Henrique made his NHL debut in the final game of the Devils 2010-11 season in a 3-2 victory over the Boston Bruins. He followed that up with a phenomenal rookie season that had him finish in third place for the Calder Memorial Trophy, given annually to the league’s rookie of the year. After posting 16 goals and 35 assists, his best was yet to come. In 24 postseason games during the Devils run to the Stanley Cup Final, he posted five goals and eight assists including a pair of series clinchers. In double overtime of Game 7 in the Devils opening series against the Florida Panthers and less than two minutes into the first overtime in Game 6 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals against the New York Rangers, Henrique sent his squad to the next round. Henrique also scored the game-winning goal during Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Los Angeles Kings to send the series back to New Jersey.

Adam Henrique
Following the Devils trip to the 2012 Stanley Cup Final, Adam Henrique had a rough start to the 2012-13 AHL and NHL season. (Ed Mulholland-US PRESSWIRE)

Henrique’s suffered from the sophomore jinx when he put up just 16 points into 42 games after starting the season off the ice with a wrist injury that he suffered while playing with the Albany Devils. However, last season the Brantford, Ontario native had a rebound season that should catapult him to an even higher level in the upcoming marathon.

Battling Through Adversity to Open the 2013-14 Season

In a dozen games during the opening month of 2013-14, Henrique scored four goals and added an assist. Three of those goals came in a game in which the Devils came out victorious as he buried the puck in the first Battle of the Hudson at the Prudential Center in a 4-0 victory, and in back-to-back games to close out the month as New Jersey defeated the Boston Bruins at the TD Garden and the Tampa Bay Lightning on home ice.

Henrique struggled through November and only put up five points, two goals and three assists. However, in a repeat of the previous month both goals came in Devils victories except this time they would be the game-winners. He netted the first goal in a 3-0 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on November 7 in a game in which Patrik Elias was scratched with an injury. He followed that up with the game-winner eleven games later when he buried the rebound of an initial blast from Eric Gelinas that Cam Ward could not corral.

Over the course of the next month Henrique sprinkled five assists onto the back of his trading card before he had a four-game point streak from December 27 through January 3, his highest point streak prior to the Olympic break. Henrique scored a goal in each of the first three games of the streak as the Devils won two of the three. His two-point effort on December 31 against the Pittsburgh Penguins was one of only two games prior to the break in which he had a multi-point game, the other coming on January 14 at the Montreal Canadiens.

Henrique notched eight points in the seventeen games following his streak leading into the two-week break. He limped into the league hiatus with one point, an assist in the final home contest against the Edmonton Oilers, in his last seven games. Then when New Jersey resumed play on February 27 against the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Devils center exploded for a second half that he hopes will carry into the 2014-15 season.

A Second Half to Build Upon for Adam Henrique

Henrique went on a season high six-game winning streak in which he tallied nine goals and eleven points. He also finished with a +/- of +7 after the six games. He opened the streak with a two-goal performance in which he deflected an Andy Greene shot on the power play for what turn out to be the game-winning goal and finished a play that started with a highlight reel pass from Elias in the second period.

Relive the highlight pass from Patrik Elias and the finish by Adam Henrique:

Henrique followed that up with the opening goal on Long Island against the New York Islanders two days later and finished the night with a goal and an assist. The next day back at the Rock against the San Jose Sharks Henrique also had a goal and an assist in a tough loss.

In the last game before the trade deadline, Henrique opened the scoring against the Detroit Red Wings in what could have been Martin Brodeur’s final game with the Devils. As it turned out, Brodeur remained with the team the day after the Devils dramatic 4-3 win and Henrique continued his streak.

Adam Henrique
Adam Henrique finished the 2013-14 season with 25 goals and 18 assists in 77 games. (Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports)

In a losing effort in Detroit in the second half of a home-and-home set Henrique buried a pair of goals and finished +2 despite the 7-4 defeat. The next night Henrique had yet another two-goal performance against the Hurricanes. Henrique forced a turnover in the neutral zone and after receiving a pass from Ryane Clowe, he skated in alone on goaltender Anton Hudobin and roofed a backhander. Less than four minutes later, Henrique and Elias entered the Hurricanes zone while New Jersey was shorthanded. Elias dropped a pass back to Henrique where the 24 year-old let loose a wrist shot that found the back of net to give the Devils a 4-1 lead. They would surrender the lead but hold on for a 5-4 victory.

He cooled off a bit following his torrid pace but from March 20 through March 29 he put up five points in five games, including a pair of goals. One of those assists came on a memorable night for Jersey’s Team. He picked up the primary assist on Greene’s overtime winner against the Minnesota Wild in Zach Parise’s return to the Rock.

After signing a new contract that will keep Henrique with the Devils through the 2018-19 season and playing with a host of new teammates to start the year, Henrique naturally struggled. However, Henrique’s sixteen points after the break in eighteen games made up for the inconsistent start during the opening half of the campaign and should propel the clutch forward to new heights in the 2014-15 season.  He has improved steadily since his rookie year and will be entering the 2014-15 season with a new surrounding cast of forwards that will be even stronger. He will be depended upon even more and if the past is any indication, when the pressure rises Henrique always delivers.

New Jersey Devils 2013-14 Success Stories:

Part One: Eric Gelinas

Part Two: Jaromir Jagr

Part Three: Martin Brodeur

Part Four: Overtime

Part Five: Cory Schneider

Part Six: Jon Merrill

Part Eight: Marek Zidlicky

Part Nine: Andy Greene

Part Ten: Patrik Elias