Coming out of the weekend, Devils forward Adam Henrique has just two goals and eight points over his last 15 games. Prior to last Monday’s victory (where he tallied a goal and three points), Henrique only had one assist in his last nine games, along with no goals in his past 10 and had been struggling to generate offense of any kind.
Concerns were beginning to rise over Henrique’s play after his relegation to the fourth line. His frustrations were apparent and despite responding with a productive week, it’s prompted some to take a closer look at his numbers in the season’s early stages. We all know Henrique is capable of posting commendable numbers and despite registering no higher than 50 points in the last four seasons, he’s scored at least 20 goals in three.
To assess Henrique’s play through the first quarter of 2017-2018, I compared his numbers over the first 23 games in each of his last four seasons, with his final totals of each year in the graph below.
At first glance, the graph seems confusing. Sections G and P-Q1 mark Henrique’s goal and point totals through his first 23 games of each season (slightly more than the first quarter). Q1P% marks the total percentage of points Henrique accumulated in relation to his final totals for that season.
I’d first like to point out how Henrique is currently averaging .60 points per game. Granted that wasn’t the case going into this past week, it goes to show how quickly numbers in that category can swing this early in the season. One facet of Henrique’s numbers this chart visibly documents are his hot and slow starts, which we can equate to his current stats.
The two seasons where Henrique had his hottest starts (2014-2015, 2015-2016) saw him post nearly 40 percent of his seasonal point totals through those 23 games. This led to extremely polarized outcomes in each season, with Henrique posting his lowest (16) and highest (30) goal totals back-to-back. On the contrary, Henrique got off to his slowest start in 2013-2014, and wound up finishing the year with 25 goals- his second-highest total of his career.
Despite his low goal totals, Henrique is averaging over half a point per game this season. -Getty Images
Despite having his lowest goal totals at the 23-game mark this season (four), Henrique’s .60 points per game are the most he’s had at this point in the last five seasons since his back-to-back showings in 2014-2015 and 2015-2016. He was always a streaky player in terms of production, but his play through this stage of the season has always been fairly consistent.
I ultimately think Henrique will have a productive year. He’s on pace for 50 points, which would be his highest point total since his 50-point campaign in 2015-2016. New Jersey’s revamped offense will factor strongly in his play (as it has with Henrique’s surprisingly above-average offensive numbers this season), and could also explain why concerns surrounding Henrique’s play might have been overblown.
With the rise of rookies Nico Hischier, Jesper Bratt, Will Butcher, the up-tempo play of Taylor Hall, and unprecedented goal output from Brian Gibbons, it’s understandable how appreciation for Henrique’s production might have gotten lost in the shuffle. Since being with the organization, Henrique has been touted as one of New Jersey’s core offensive players, mainly due to a combination of the team’s subpar offenses from recent years, and tremendous upside he bestowed upon himself from his rookie season.
As Henrique matured, his capabilities became more defined, leading many to conclude he can’t be solely looked upon to carry an offense. He’s quietly exceled in his current role with the team, and the fact his consistent offensive production has been slightly overlooked should ultimately be perceived as a testament to the unprecedented strides this Devils team has made.