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Oilers’ Adam Henrique proving to be a valuable trade pickup with clutch scoring in Stanley Cup Final

Edmonton Oilers Adam Henrique
Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Sean Panganiban
24 days ago
Before the start of the playoffs, I wrote about four players who could surprise as the next unlikely playoff heroes for the Edmonton Oilers—Warren Foegele, Corey Perry, Connor Brown, and Adam Henrique. This quartet has had its ups and downs throughout the playoffs, but each one, without a doubt, has shown up when it matters most in the Stanley Cup Final and has been a significant part of the Oilers’ comeback to tie the series 3-3 against the Florida Panthers.
While none of the four Oilers mentioned went on a torrid scoring spree like Fernando Pisani did in 2006, when he netted 14 postseason goals, all four have pitched in tremendously in the Cup Final in various ways, including Henrique, who’s scored two game-winning goals in the last three games.
That said, leading up to last March’s trade deadline, the Oilers were rumoured to be in the mix for players who could be a consistent top-six scoring threat, such as Jake Guentzel, who tallied nine points in 11 playoff games for the team he was eventually traded to—the Carolina Hurricanes. As we know, Edmonton instead made a deal with the Anaheim Ducks, acquiring Adam Henrique as the main piece along with Sam Carrick in exchange for draft picks, including a first-rounder.
There was a feeling from some at the time that GM Ken Holland should’ve pursued harder for a legitimate top-six player, even though Henrique was a proven 20-goal scorer. But now, with only one more game to be played in the 2023-24 season—a monumental Game 7 between the Oilers and Panthers— in hindsight, Holland’s deal turned out pretty well.
Carrick has had bright moments in ten postseason games, recording an assist, leading the team in hits per 60 (20.95), and winning 58% of his faceoffs. As for Henrique, his playoffs have been filled with highs and lows due to injuries, resulting in him being in and out of the lineup. While his six points in 15 games don’t necessarily scream ‘lighting up the scoresheet,’ we now see that the notable price Holland paid before the deadline to acquire him was not only for his versatility but also for his clutch scoring, which we’re starting to witness in the Stanley Cup Final.

A Recap of Henrique’s Playoffs Before Stanley Cup Final

Henrique finished the regular season with nine points in 22 games, showcasing his versatility by playing on the wing, at center, and on both special teams. He played in all five games of the first-round series against the Los Angeles Kings, scoring a goal and adding an assist in Game 1 while playing on Connor McDavid’s wing. However, he suffered an ankle injury in Game 5, which kept him out of the lineup for all but one game in the second-round series against the Vancouver Canucks.
Henrique returned to the lineup against the Dallas Stars in the Western Conference Final, playing mostly center with a mix of wingers. In Game 3, he scored the tying goal by going hard to the net and tipping the puck past Jake Oettinger off a feed from Connor Brown to temporarily tie the game, despite the team losing. He also assisted on Philip Broberg’s first-ever NHL playoff goal in Game 5.
Moreover, in Game 1 against the Panthers in the Stanley Cup Final, Kris Knoblauch began deploying what I now view as the third line consisting of Henrique, Mattias Janmark, and Brown. Despite Henrique playing on Draisaitl’s wing in Game 2, Knoblauch reunited the trio in Game 3, returning the six-time 20-goal scorer to center, and their chemistry has increased ever since.

Henrique’s Clutch Goals Emerged With Janmark and Brown

The three Oilers have played 42.5 minutes together at 5v5 in the Cup Finals, generating 2GF and 1GA while playing tough minutes. The trio has played good defensive hockey, forechecked hard, and they’ve definitely earned the trust of Knoblauch, as the line has started games or taken the first shift of periods numerous times to set the tone, and their overall solid play should justify giving them the nickname the ‘unsung hero line.’
In Game 4, with the Oilers down 0-3 in the series and facing elimination, Brown and Janmark combined for their second shorthanded tally of the postseason just three minutes into the game to make it 1-0. Almost five minutes later, Janmark carried the puck into the zone and Henrique snuck behind Anton Lundell, went hard to the net, put his stick on the ice, and buried the pass from his linemate to make it 2-0. The Oilers won Game 4 convincingly by a score of 8-1, yet Henrique’s goal stood as the game-winner.
In Game 6, the Janmark and Henrique duo combined again for another impressive tally. The play—where it looked like every Oiler on the ice was in complete sync—started with a nice defensive effort in the Oilers’ zone by Brown to break up the cycle. As soon as the puck landed on Mattias Ekholm’s stick, both Janmark and Henrique read the play and burst into attack mode. Ekholm rimmed the puck around the boards ending up on Janmark’s stick, and a bad change by Panthers’ D-man Aaron Ekblad led to a 2-on-1 opportunity. Janmark sauced the puck over to Henrique, who wasted very little time and wristed a perfectly placed shot past Sergei Bobrovsky.
The Oilers won Game 6 by a score of 5-1, but for the second time in three games, Henrique scored the game-winning goal and, in the process, he became the fourth Oiler behind Pisani (2006), Wayne Gretzky (1988), and Jari Kurri to score two game-winning goals in a single Stanley Cup Finals series.
Henrique’s two crucial goals in the last three games have been invaluable to the Oilers, demonstrating his ability to rise to the occasion under pressure. Back in 2012, during his rookie season with the New Jersey Devils, he tied an NHL record for the most game-winning goals in a playoff season. That said, there’s a sense of deja vu now as he continues to score game-winners for Edmonton. Nevertheless, perhaps GM Holland took into consideration his previous clutch scoring when he traded for him.
Additionally, for those of you who are fond of history repeating itself, you might like this one. The Oilers aim to capture their sixth Stanley Cup in an epic Game 7 on Monday in Florida. Interestingly, the first time Henrique faced the Panthers in a Game 7 in 2012, he emerged as the hero by scoring the game-winner in double overtime.
I’m not sure if Oilers fans’ stress levels could take an OT against the Panthers, but it’s comforting to know that Henrique has buried a Game 7 winner against them in the past. With that in mind, what are your thoughts overall on Henrique’s playoff performance?

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