Minnesota Wild: Matt Hendricks will add character upon injury return

ST. PAUL, MN - OCTOBER 06: Minnesota Wild center Matt Hendricks (15) yells at Vegas Golden Knights right wing Ryan Reaves (75) (not pictured) during the regular season game between the Vegas Golden Knights and the Minnesota Wild on October 6, 2018 at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. The Golden Knights defeated the Wild 2-1 in the shootout. (Photo by David Berding/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ST. PAUL, MN - OCTOBER 06: Minnesota Wild center Matt Hendricks (15) yells at Vegas Golden Knights right wing Ryan Reaves (75) (not pictured) during the regular season game between the Vegas Golden Knights and the Minnesota Wild on October 6, 2018 at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. The Golden Knights defeated the Wild 2-1 in the shootout. (Photo by David Berding/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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Matt Hendricks appears to finally be nearing a return from injury for the Minnesota Wild. He hasn’t been seen in-game action since an injury during the mid-October clash with the Arizona Coyotes.

For the Minnesota Wild, the return of Matt Hendricks would mean they have a returning veteran presence, who isn’t likely to offer much by way of scoring but offers wily smarts on the penalty-kill and plenty of character in the locker-room.

His character alone was a big post-season addition to a team that whilst steeped in plenty of veteran presence doesn’t necessarily have that traditional leader to rally around.

Team captain, Mikko Koivu and Scandinavians, in general, come across as the more reserved lead by example types rather than the rallying cry types that Hendricks, I feel, would be.

The return of Matt Hendricks won’t call for any sort of demotion to the AHL for a player that has been filling in; per CapFriendly, the Minnesota Wild are sitting at 22 of the 23 players allowed on the roster, including Hendricks.

Beyond character and penalty-killing, he doesn’t add a great deal to the line-up though, so you may question whether his return really means much to the team. He has also dropped the gloves on occasion as noted by Minnesota Wild head coach, Bruce Boudreau.

He gives you good energy and if he has to drop the gloves, no matter how old he is, he would and he’s shown it. – Bruce Boudreau (NHL.com)

Especially when you could promote some of the younger guys; Justin Kloos, Luke Kunin or Mason Shaw from the Iowa Wild and give them a shot at the big-time.

Given the highly limited minutes that seem to get dished out in the lower half of the line-up, I don’t think it’d really hurt the Minnesota Wild that much.

In fact, you may even get elevated performances from the young guys, hoping to remain with the big club.

Time and again, it seems a lot of attention and focus is placed on character depth guys. Obviously not being privy to an NHL locker-room, it’s hard to say how much value they bring but realistically I look at Matt Hendricks as being a limited veteran these days.

My preference would be to give some younger blood a chance.

Maybe even blood some of the youth alongside Hendricks; maybe that’s the best idea here. Give them their start alongside the steadying veteran presence in the hope he calms their nerves and helps them ease into the NHL.

Next. Top 5 young prospects in the Minnesota Wild system. dark

Either way, his injury return, to me, is nice but not big news.