3 reasons why the Islanders must make a strong play for Adam Henrique

Adam Henrique is one of the hottest names in the rumor mill for 2024, and the Islanders are a team that would more than value his services.

Feb 13, 2024; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Anaheim Ducks center Adam Henrique (14) hits Montreal Canadiens
Feb 13, 2024; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Anaheim Ducks center Adam Henrique (14) hits Montreal Canadiens / David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports
1 of 3

While the New York Islanders haven’t enjoyed an ideal season to date, they are still only three points out of a wild card spot as of February 13th, so they are still legitimate playoff contenders. Therefore, they will at least explore buying options at the trade deadline, even if they would have to make a lot of moves just to have some space to make trades. 

Even if it would be a major challenge to bring in a player like Adam Henrique, it’s not necessarily impossible, and it would even dramatically help New York’s cause in returning to the playoffs. But if the Isles want to get back there, they need someone who can both score and play sound defense, and luckily, Adam Henrique is that player. 

The Islanders could use another depth scorer at forward

While the sheer cost of adding Henrique to the lineup factors in as a major obstacle for the islanders, if they can swing it, they will have a sound depth scorer among their forwards. Bo Horvat and Brock Nelson have 21 and 22 goals, respectively, but no one else on the Islanders has any more than 15, and this is where Henrique will help them with depth scoring. 

Should the Isles find a way to bring in a talent like Henrique, he would immediately upgrade the middle-six, perhaps on the third line. Henrique also has just 15 goals so far this season, but playing for a better team like the Islanders would naturally give him more chances to find the net. 

There is also a chance a talent like Henrique factors into the top-six, where he could further maximize his opportunities to score. Regardless of where they would put him, Henrique’s presence would make New York a better team with the puck overall, and that will translate into a few more crucial wins. 

Henrique offers more defense for an Islanders team that needs it

While the Islanders are close to being one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference, it doesn’t mean they are in the top half of goals scored and goals allowed. In fact, thanks to poor play in the defensive zone, goaltenders Ilya Sorokin and Semyon Varlamov have been allowing far more pucks into the net this season. 

Both netminders are enjoying respectable quality start percentages of 0.595 and 0.563, respectively plus save percentages of 0.910 or better. On the surface, they are having good seasons. But their respective 3.04 and 2.90 GAAs tell a different story, and it shows just how poorly the Isles have been on defense for most of the season. 

This is where Henrique would make a difference, as, despite the Anaheim Ducks finding themselves in a similar predicament, his possession metrics show us that his on-ice presence has at least helped slow down opposing scorers. At 5-on-5, the Ducks on-ice save percentage sits at 91.2 during Henrique’s shifts, and it’s even riding at a respectable 89.6 at even-strength. 

Once again, if you insert him onto a better hockey team, his presence in the defensive zone will more than help that team win games they otherwise would have lost. Or at the absolute least, Henrique would give them a much better chance to pull off some close wins. 

Henrique would be a remarkable asset on the penalty-kill

The Islanders have the worst penalty-kill unit in hockey, where they currently stand at a 71.7 success rate. This shows us that, if the Islanders make enough room to be a buyer at the trade deadline, they need somebody who could, if nothing else, upgrade what has been a horrific penalty-kill. 

Henrique has spent a lot of time with the Ducks while they faced the man advantage with over 130 minutes as of February 13th. While there are no guarantees that one player would do much to fix the PK unit on Long Island, Henrique’s presence should at least improve it.

Therefore, this is a player who would upgrade the New York Islanders in most facets of the game, from their scoring to playing better defense at 5-on-5 and even-strength, and even on the penalty kill. 

No, Henrique isn’t an elite player who will magically turn the Islanders into shoo-ins for the postseason down the stretch. But this is already a solid hockey team that only needs a versatile asset, and a versatile player like Adam Henrique would bring them that. Now, they would just need to figure out a viable trade package to bring him to Long Island. 


(Statistics provided by Hockey-Reference as of February 13th)