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Henrique Clears Waivers, Now What?
By Michael Walters
So the question is what will the Ducks organization do with Henrique?
On the podcast, we discussed that the New Jersey Devils were at least one team that was interested in Henrique. Due to his struggles offensively and his contract, getting a decent trade deal for him isn’t going to be easy which likely led to him being placed on waivers.
If General Manager Bob Murray still wants to explore trading him, then he is going to have a few hurdles to jump. First, Henrique is signed until the 2023-24 season with an annual price tag of $5.825 million. Second, he isn’t performing to a level offensively to help his market level in a trade.
As a result, Murray will have to give something up in a trade like retaining some of Henrique’s salary and/or giving up some youth in the pipeline. Murray probably didn’t want to budge on either of these originally, which is why no trade happened. Instead he went the waiver route hoping someone would pick up Henrique to clear some cap space. With no team claiming him, Murray is back to square one.
If a trade isn’t in the future, then there is the always very popular buy-out option(says in sarcastic tone). This would probably be the worst option given that Henrique’s deal still has three years to go.
The Ducks are still on the hook for three more years with Corey Perry‘s buy-out. This season the cap hit of Perry’s buyout is $6.625 million and then it’s two million for each of the following seasons. The Ducks buying out Henrique would be a huge mistake, as it would mean restricting their cap room even further and not getting anything for him.
Role In Anaheim
So if a trade isn’t imminent and a buy-out is not likely, then the Anaheim organization will have to determine Henrique’s role with the team for now. He could be reassigned to the Gulls, put on the taxi squad, or stay on the Ducks roster.
The Gulls(7-1-0) continue to be on fire, where the Ducks(6-9-3) are a dumpster fire. Henrique could be sent to the Gulls to play some games, but it’s unlikely that he or his agent would be agreeable to that.
It’s more likely that Henrique will stay with the Ducks, but he could be placed on the taxi squad instead of immediately being back on the roster. The Ducks could explore trading him while on the taxi squad. The organization might also feel like giving him a more few nights off while on the taxi squad and then bring him back full time on the roster in hopes of jump starting him. Lastly, he didn’t play in yesterday’s loss to Minnesota, so maybe if his “timeout” was deemed over, he could be back for Monday’s night’s game.
Regardless what happens to Henrique, the Ducks continue to be the most interesting team in the NHL. Stating that Henrique is not alone in this and then singling him out by putting him on waivers seems to be two contradicting actions. The team has had issues with scoring and converting on the power play, which is nothing new to anyone. The majority of the team has struggled offensively.
The question is when is it time to start looking at management’s performance? Players have come and gone. Anaheim has a new head coach and seen some new staff in other areas as well. This organization feels like it is at a major crossroads right now.
Is it really time to “blow it up” by trading a bunch of players and completely tearing down the team? Or is it time to start looking at who is making the decisions over and over again with little, if any, improvement?
Time will tell, but hopefully things get figured out soon or it’s going to continue to be a rough road ahead for Anaheim.
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February 21st, 2021