According to Sean Shapiro of Wrong Side of the Redline 27-year old winger Kevin Henderson is set to rejoin the Texas Stars for the 2014-15 season. He joined the Stars in March of last season on a loan deal that also saw Francis Wathier exchanged on a similar basis here in Milwaukee.
Shapiro cites an email conversation held with the manager of communications for the Nashville Predators Kevin Wilson:
“The intention is to again assign Kevin Henderson to Texas in time for their training camp,” Wilson wrote in a e-mail after an inquiry about the forward’s status. The move is dependent on Henderson clearing waivers.
To say the least, Henderson’s effort and contribution last season in Milwaukee was inconsistent. He produced 14 points (7 goals, 7 assists) in 50 games and had a plus/minus rating of -3. Compare that to the year prior, the 2012-13 season, which stands as his best professional season to date: 29 points (17 goals, 12 assists) in 67 games with a +13 rating. He also earned his first career NHL call up and scored a goal in the process.
What went wrong for Henderson after that great outing of 2012-13? If you look into that offseason you’ll have seen the Predators organization sign players such as Matt Cullen, Matt Hendricks, and Viktor Stalberg.
All such players featured that similar style of play that Henderson is known for: gritty, strong on the wall, defensive, and an ability to jump out of defense to offer some extra skill in attack. That glass ceiling that Henderson managed to breakthrough the year previous to those signings being made was thickened. Rather than blitz through the ceiling against all odds, as he did the year prior, he appeared to retreat into a shell. He took 7 games to record his first point as an Admiral in 2013-14 and another 4 games before his first goal.
Once he left the Admirals locker room and joined the top team of the AHL last season, the Texas Stars, he amassed 9 points (5 goals, 4 assists) in 15 games with a +2 rating. His playoff performance in Texas also saw more consistent results as he picked up 6 points (1 goal, 5 assists) from 21 games en route to the Stars Calder Cup triumph.
It was only ever going to be awkward if Henderson rejoined the Admirals this season considering the circumstances in which he left the team last year. He fell out of favor in making the starting lineup. And he wasn’t producing when given the chance. When he joined the Stars it seemed to steer him back towards form but it still wasn’t close to what he was in the 2012-13 season.
Was it worth bringing Kevin Henderson back into the fold with the amount of youngsters set to join Milwaukee this season? Where did this story all go wrong after he made his first-career NHL appearances in Nashville?