Teams’ interest in the services of Ducks center Adam Henrique continues to intensify ahead of next week’s trade deadline, The Fourth Period’s David Pagnotta reports. “It’s a matter of when, not if, he’s traded,” Pagnotta said, also reporting it’s “all but certain” the Ducks will retain up to half of Henrique’s $5.825MM cap hit in a deal.
That would bring Henrique’s cap hit down to $2.91MM without needing to get a third team involved, which would still be out of reach for contenders pondering adds on offense like the Oilers, Avalanche and Kings. Los Angeles would be able to stomach Henrique’s cap hit if Adrian Kempe lands on LTIR for the rest of the regular season, however. He’s out with an upper-body injury sustained Monday against the Oilers, and the team hasn’t finished evaluating his recovery timeline.
All signs are pointing for the Ducks potentially adding a first-round pick in the next nine days after centers Elias Lindholm and Sean Monahan fetched first-rounders a few weeks back. Henrique, who can also seamlessly shift to a left-wing role, has 16 goals and 38 points in 57 games this season. His 0.67 points per game are the third-most of his career, trailing the pace he set with Anaheim in 2021-22 (0.72) and the Devils in 2011-12 (0.69).
Other updates from the Western Conference:
- Avalanche winger Valeri Nichushkin is nearing a return after being cleared to resume practicing with the team by NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program administrators earlier this week. While he hasn’t been approved to play in game action, that will come soon. Head coach Jared Bednar said on 92.5 FM Altitude Sports Radio on Wednesday morning that the Avs are targeting one of their first home game after their current road trip for Nichushkin’s return (via Evan Rawal of Colorado Hockey Now). That rules him out of a return tomorrow against the Blackhawks or Saturday against the Predators, but he will return sometime during the week preceding the March 8 trade deadline. Nichushkin had 42 points in 40 games before taking leave from the team last month, a career-best scoring pace.
- Wild depth forward Connor Dewar may join fellow Minnesota bottom-sixer Brandon Duhaime on the move in the coming days, as Michael Russo and Joe Smith of The Athletic posit. Duhaime, a pending UFA, is drawing trade interest from a few teams (namely the Canucks, per a report earlier this week) and is a decent candidate to be moved regardless of the Wild’s postseason intentions. Dewar may also fall victim to a roster crunch caused by the return of Mason Shaw from reconstructive ACL surgery and the arrival of Russian center prospect Marat Khusnutdinov, a younger, higher-ceiling replacement for Dewar in the fourth-line center role. The team controls Dewar’s signing rights as he’s an RFA this summer. He has 16 goals, 36 points and a -16 rating in 169 games with Minnesota since making his NHL debut in 2021.