Adam Henrique signed a 5 year deal with the Ducks, and while the extension won’t kick in until the 2019-2020 season, I thought it might be interesting to attempt to project where that extension might take him by looking at his last 5 seasons.
Given my posts of this kind of nature often end up as epic Skyrim length adventures, I thought I might attempt to break them into more managable pieces. In this first post I’ll look into Henriques offensive contributions - by the numbers of obviously, I’m not quite broken out of off-season mode to delve into video just yet - and attempt to determine if there are any trends that we might be able to use to project production and play style going forward. The follow up post will look at his defensive contributions and subsequent trends.
At face value (see Figure below), Henrique is a 20-30 goal, 40-50 point, per season player. His rolling averages over the past few years remain remarkably consistent.
Specifically, Henriques averages over a 3, 4, and 5 year period are as follows:
3 year average: 24.7 goals, 22 assists, 46.7 points
4 year average: 22.5 goals, 23.2 assists, 47.7 points
5 year average: 23 goals, 22.2 assists, 45.2 points
This a remarkably consistent level of production from a player who was in his productive years (by biological age), and surely provided his team(s) with a level of surety each season - this despite his reputation as a streaky player.
However, there is a lot of data available regarding scoring rates degrading as players age. I won’t delve into it here, as it’s been mentioned many, many times in the past. However, it may be worth looking at how Henrique gets his points. Given even strength (ES) scoring typically degrades more rapidly than power play production (PP), it may be worth considering his usage at even strength vs. on the power play.
OFFENSIVE BREAKDOWN AT EVEN STRENGTH
In attempting to determine trends, it’s often more beneficial to break down the raw total into numbers that are more easily comparable across data points. In this instance I’ve taken the easy option and am using his raw totals expressed as a per 60 minutes of play ration. If nothing else, it at least presents the numbers in a way that allows us to track trends across seasons.
For Henrique, as with everyone who is traded mid-season (or close enough to it), it was a tale of two seasons. As a general rule, Henriques goal and overall points totals climbed, as well as a slight dip in secondary assist rates. Whether this is due to an underwhelming group of line-mates in New Jersey, a strong group in Anaheim, or a change of coaching system, remains somewhat unclear. It may simply have been bad luck for him in New Jersey, and/or good luck in Anaheim. With that said however, it is clear that he significantly boosted his scoring rates post-trade.
For clarity, unless otherwise stated, all 2017-2018 statistics will be accumulated figures from both teams he played with. This is to get an overall feel for the player over the season, rather than delve into the impacts of each individual team.
With that in mind, it should be noted that it is indeed possible that Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle is a borderline genius that brought out career-best numbers from Henrique in the 57 regular season games he played with the Ducks. It could be that his most common linemates (Ondrej Kase and Nick Ritchie), were so superior to what he had on the Devils that an increase in goal scoring couldn't be helped. It could even be a possibility that halfway through the season at 28 years old, Henrique found the fountain of youth and kicked it all up another gear. So with that said, I’ll now attempt a shallow swan dive into the numerical representation of Henrique’s last 5 seasons.
On the offensive end, Henrique is known primarily as a goal scorer. The trends over the past 5 seasons more or less confirm that with his goal scoring rates far out-stripping his assist rates - in 3 of the 5 seasons observed the combined primary and secondary assist rates don't match his goal scoring output.
Despite the growing observational trend of watching goal scoring (slowly) deteriorate following a player’s 25-year-old season, Henrique hasn't appeared to be troubled overly much in this regard. Despite a jagged appearance, his goal scoring rates have slightly trended upwards over the observation period. While it’s unlikely to expect that the trend will continue, it is an interesting point to note, and at worst suggests that his scoring should remain relatively consistent for a few years more. Given that the extension wont kick in until after this upcoming season that bit of optimism is more than welcome.
Nonetheless the above figure does present two points of concern.
The most notable point is the decline in overall point contributions when goal scoring deteriorates. It doesn't appear that Henrique is a player that has multiple strings to his bow, and that can provide production when the goal scoring dries up.
While his primary assist rate in the most recent season was by far the best in the 5 season sample, it merely counteracts the poor rates in the 2015-2016 season. Given that the primary assist numbers he posted while still with the Devils more than doubled the average of the preceding 4 seasons, this adds concern to the decline (and yet still higher than any of the previous 4 seasons) seen in this metric post-trade. To draw a (neither favourable nor unfavourable) comparison to another Ducks player: Corey Perry appears to have lifted his assist rates now that his goal scoring has declined. While Perry’s overall points totals are beginning to decline, he seems to be supplementing his dwindling goal totals with increased primary and secondary assist numbers.
While Henrique has time to show that he too can do this, and last season’s numbers are a good start, he hasn't been able to, to date.
The second point is that Henrique’s rate numbers are quite low overall. As a third line player, a position he played in New Jersey before the trade and with Anaheim after the trade, his numbers are approximately what one would expect. Last season Henrique was the 98th best goal scorer amongst forwards when rated on a per 60 minutes basis. This puts him in the (good) company of guys like Brayden Schenn, Kyle Palmieri, Patrick Maroon and Brandon Saad.
He was 155th for primary assists alongside guys like Mikael Backlund, Stefan Noesen and Brett Connolly. His 1.84 points per 60 was also ranked 155th, which was slightly under former and now current team mate Brian Gibbons. With that said, he had some great company there with Nazem Kadri ranked 156th. Unfortunately he hasn't had as strong a season as this very often in the recent past.
2016-2017: Goals = 208th, Primary Assists = 210th, Points = 220th.
2015-2016: Goals = 34th, Primary Assists = 375th, Points = 135th.
2014-2015: Goals = 214th, Primary Assists = 220th, Points = 234th.
2013-2014: Goals = 106th, Primary Assists = 344th, Points = 221st.
All of this suggests that Henrique is a relatively inefficient scorer at even strength, despite his overall raw points totals. This may present differing points of views amongst the Ducks faithful.
On one hand, inefficient scorers is something they’re used to seeing. Ryan Kesler, despite his raw totals was also an inefficient scorer, and received most of his scoring due to the high volume of ice time he received. Thus, if the Ducks are comfortable with their current levels of offense, Henrique scoring at the rates he does shouldn't bother them overly much.
The other side of the coin is, that if the Ducks are concerned about their bottom half of the league scoring ability, providing Henrique the ice time he requires to accumulate the points that he does may inhibit more efficient scorers and work to enforce suppressed overall point scoring.
The alternative is that they reduce Henriques ice time and he produces less, which in turn decreases the value of his new contract. It’s a balancing act the coach will be required to walk this next season and beyond, whether Kesler is healthy enough to play or not.
*This is a good place to note that any comparison across the league - as shown above - has a minimum of 300 minutes played cut-off, when discussing even strength. There’s no rhyme or reason for that particular number, its just an arbitrary number I’m using to signify that a regular player will exceed that figure. Thus in the 2017-2018 season example, Henrique was rated 155th overall for points per 60 minutes of play of all the forwards who played more than 300 minutes over the regular season while at even strength.
As expected, a comparison of the data presented in Figure 2 and Figure 3 shows that Henrique scored more goals in seasons he scored on a higher percentage of his shots (yes, I’m as shocked as you are.... honest...). Interestingly Henrique does present a slightly inverse relationship between shot volume and shooting percentage. That is to say a slight dip in total shot volume per 60 minutes seems to have a slight, if insignificant, relationship with shooting percentage.
Interestingly, there appears to be no real relationship between shots on net and corsi attempts. In this most previous season, Henrique produced the fewest volume of shots on net since the 2013-2014 season, and yet had the highest CF of the 5 year sample. CF also doesn't appear to have any bearing on shooting percentages, goals, assists, or points, despite having a clearly strong relationship with scoring chances.
What is clear however is that Henrique is progressively shooting the puck less each season. A situation which, while likely a reflection of a changing role, may present issues in the future for a goal scorer.
With that said, Henrique will never be mistaken for a volume shooter (339th ranked in the 2017-2018 season for shots per 60). Thus, if he can maintain the extravagant shooting percentage seen this year with the Ducks, the dwindling number of shots may not necessarily have an impact.
With that, it should be noted that this season was Henrique’s 2nd highest shooting percentage of the 5 year sample, and that the 22.06% he shot at even strength while with the Ducks was ~3.5% higher than any other in the sample and 8.3% higher than the 4 year average preceding it (not counting the dismal 5.26% he shot last season while in New Jersey).
The shooting data, begs the question to be asked: did the Ducks buy high on a career best run, a season before they had to consider the extension? A first impression based on a systematically decreasing shot volume and a likely unsustainable shooting percentage suggests this might be the case, if Henrique is going to be cast as a goal scoring centre-iceman going forward. However 57 games is far too small of a sample to clearly state any potential outcome, nor refute any trend lines leading into it.
It’s difficult to pinpoint where Henrique may be able to garner value if his goal scoring does eventually dry up. Visually Figure 5 shows that secondary assist numbers appear to remain relatively stable over the sample, although a decline can be see over the past 3 seasons. A decline seemingly unrelated to shots on net or rebounds created numbers.
However, a clear inverse relationship is shown between primary and secondary assists. When primary numbers are higher, secondary numbers decrease, and vice versa. When considered in conjunction with goal scoring, it appears that Henrique is the primary driver on his line. That is to say that Henrique produces primary points, and that most of the points produced by that line are seemingly going through Henrique at the goal scoring end. There does remain a chance that Henrique is a complete passenger on other plays and only contributes when he can get on the board, however playing pivot (and with points being attributed to centres on ~70% of all points scored) this seems highly unlikely.
Taking the above into consideration, I would suggest that Henrique is a primary driver on whichever line he is based upon. Given the relatively low ranking in the league compared to his peers, question may be asked as to how efficient he is in that role, or whether he’s a player that coaches should be relying on to drive a line.
Nonetheless, Henrique’s raw totals of 17 goals and 17 (primary + secondary) assists ranked him 82nd for goals and 146th for assists amongst forwards who played in excess of 300 minutes this season. Given his role on the team as a third line centre, this seems like reasonable even-strength production.
OFFENSIVE CONTRIBUTIONS ON THE POWER PLAY
To the surprise of no one who watches the Ducks, the Ducks power play sucked the life out of Henrique, and his gaudy power play point totals took a dive after arriving in Anaheim. In fact, Henrique’s numbers on the power play were amongst the lowest, if not the lowest, he had recorded in the observed 5 year sample.
Goals per 60 with the Ducks were nearly half a goal (0.46) lower than the 4 year average preceding this one, and total points were 1.12 points (per 60 minutes) lower than the average.
The Ducks power play was awful, and rather than Henrique fixing it, it broke him.
Yet, the coach supposedly in charge of the power play last season was removed relatively recently, in a bid by General Manager Bob Murray to alter the playing style of the team. So with that caveat, it’s worth considering how Henrique performed on the power play in a larger (4 season) sample. This may help us see some trends going forward.
Given scoring on the power play typically remains high for players aged through their early-to-mid 30’s, it seems like this could be a place Henrique could make his mark as his new contract ages.
Unfortunately, despite a slight rebound this season (likely due to the improbable numbers he posted in New Jersey), Henrique’s last 3 seasons have been largely underwhelming on the power play.
Goal scoring has seen a systematic and gradual decline year to year, and primary assists have become negligible - although given only one “good” season in this respect, saying become may be a stretch.
Secondary assists did see a rebound to be the second highest seen during the sample on the back of the minutes received in New Jersey. It is difficult to determine whether this may continue to bounce back in the future, although the number he produced in this respect while in Anaheim were middle of the road. This may suggest that the decline is real, or that his usage is no longer as a primary producer on the power play.
Given he was the 5th highest ice time earner amongst forwards once in Anaheim, this last hypothesis seems to hold the most water. Only Ryan Kesler and Ondrej Kase are notable names with less minutes (apologies to Nick Ritchie and the Kevin Roy fanclub) in that time frame.
That said, outside of the 2014-2015 season Henrique shouldn't be considered a power play producer:
2017-2018: Goals = 95th, Primary Assists = 141st, Points = 121st.
2016-2017: Goals = 82nd, Primary Assists = 141st, Points = 155th.
2015-2016: Goals = 57th, Primary Assists = 133rd, Points = 138th.
2014-2015: Goals = 41st, Primary Assists = 6th, Points = 7th.
2013-2014: Goals = 25th, Primary Assists = 154th, Points = 81st.
Perhaps the most notable thing about these rankings is the systematic decline in goals per 60 ranking amongst his peers (forwards with a minimum of 100 minutes played on the power play). However, with only one genuine quality season, and another in the top 30 for goals, it seems like a stretch to consider Henrique an integral part of a power play unit. He seems, based on production, to be at best a second unit guy. Although it is plausible that Randy Carlyle could unshackle Henrique and unlock scoring that hasn't been seen in a few years.
This unshackling could conceivably come as a result of a hot shooting percentage. Henrique’s shooting on the power play has progressively deteriorated over the past 4 seasons, yet even the combined 20% he shot this season papers over the prosaic 16% he shot while in Anaheim. He shot 40% on the power play last season in NJ, and averaged 21.1% in the 4 seasons previous, with a high off 33.33% in the 2014-2015 season. For comparison’s sake, 20% placed him 60th amongst his peers and 16% would have placed him ~95th (the same rank as Rickard Rakell had, as well as the same shooting percentage on the powerplay). Shooting 21.1%, as was his average would have had him as the 50th hottest power play shooter in the league. Its seems at least plausible that Henrique could regain that high of a status should the coaching change bear fruit.
Given the lack of pure goal scorers on the Ducks roster now that Perry has somewhat declined and is being used away from his tradition scoring areas (front of net), it seems likely that desire would place Henrique in a shooters role. However, there is the assumption that Corey Perry could be traded, or that he won’t rebound from his 70th in the league rank for primary assists last season to the 15th he ranked the season before. Either of these outcomes may necessitate that Henrique be more of a playmaker.
At face value, there doesn't seem to be a trend in either direction with regards to playmaking abilities. Outside of the 2014-2015 season, Henrique’s numbers have remained largely stagnant with only minor variations year to year. It doesn't suggest that he can’t play in a playmakers role, but it certainly suggests that he shouldn't be counted on to do so.
Interestingly, despite relatively stagnant scoring, shots on net and corsi for attempts have gradually increased over the 5 year period. This has resulted in an increase in scoring chances and high danger chances, which is a somewhat interesting outcome. A gradual increase in corsi, in shots, in scoring chances, and quality scoring chances, has resulted in no increase in rebounds, assists or goals.
WRAPPING IT UP
The trend of increasing corsi and scoring chances on the power play is a really interesting look for a player that at face value (based on raw totals scoring) appears to be good value. Pulling the curtain back somewhat I believe that the Devils may have done the right thing by moving on from Henrique and selling at a relatively high point. It doesn't appear that Henrique has anything hidden away that may increase his scoring output, and it seems that any increase on the power play might be taken away with a decrease at even strength. With the hype about shot metrics, the gradual increase for those metrics with Henrique on the power play gives his supporters something to hang their hat on, and gives them hope for a future with a flurry of goals.
Nonetheless, as a counter point to the unlikely circumstance that Henrique will produce an offensive explosion, it should also be said that there doesn't appear to be a sharp decline in the cards in the next season either. There are certainly warning signs, as there are with any player who will be approaching 30 and older (the duration of Henriques extension), yet as of today Henrique appears to be a solid yet unspectacular foot soldier for the 2018-2019 season.
He appears to be a pretty good 3rd line player, who can contribute offensively on a second power play unit, as he comes out of his prime offensive years (based on biological age). Given his career shooting percentage, and that he seems to be a primary point producer or invisible, it seems prudent that he’s given at least one linemate with a playmakers mindset and skillset to make best use of his abilities.
The next post will focus further on the defensive side of the ledger, but for now my take home is that Henrique is an inefficient scorer, but one that can produce if he’s given enough ice time. Given the state of the Ducks roster, and with the number of prospects they have ready to come into the team who play either centre or left wing, I think that 1 more season of Henrique is a good move for the Ducks before they start making room for the multitude of Ducklings that should be ready to be presented opportunities.
This should be roughly the same time frame that an age related decline should begin to be markedly apparent in Henriques numbers. Although perhaps there are already signs, given the declining trend lines seen in some measurements between his 25th year (of age - and typically considered high water mark) and this season. Next season should prove telling, and a valuable tool in determining whether or not the Ducks should keep the player around for further seasons.
Whatever the Ducks decide to do with Henrique and the rest of the roster however, it appears that they’ve found the third line centre they wanted and they locked him into a long term deal to ensure he will remain in Anaheim.