Brooks Orpik isn’t the only player hanging up his skates today. Michael Russo of The Athletic passes on the news that veteran forward Matt Hendricks will call it quits on a long professional career, joining the Minnesota Wild’s player development department instead.
Hendricks, 38, was originally selected by the Nashville Predators in the fifth round of the 2000 draft, and had a long and winding road to the NHL. Four years at St. Cloud State landed him nothing but a minor league contract, and the hard working forward had to grind through games for the Milwaukee Admirals, Florida Everblades, Lowell Lock Monsters, Rochester Americans, Hershey Bears, Providence Bruins and Lake Erie Monsters before ever sniffing the NHL. That first chance came with the Colorado Avalanche during the 2008-09 season, and Hendricks would never look back.
Still a journeyman at heart, the fourth-line center would end up playing for Colorado, Washington, Nashville, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Minnesota during his 607-game NHL career, recording 116 points and 722 penalty minutes along the way. Considered a natural leader everywhere he went, Hendricks was never much of an offensive player but continued to play important minutes for every team he went to. Never able to capture the Stanley Cup, he’ll retire with just 39 playoff games under his belt.