With a few key players set to hit unrestricted free agency next summer, Ducks general manager Bob Murray got the ball rolling Monday by ensuring his biggest pickup from last season won’t be playing on an expiring contract.
The team announced they’ve locked up center Adam Henrique for five more years. Henrique’s extension is worth $29,125,000 and contains an average annual value of $5,825,000, according to a person familiar with the terms of the deal but unauthorized to speak publicly.
“It was honestly just a seamless fit and I don’t think you can overlook that, that was a big reason why I was so comfortable there,” said Henrique, who said during a media conference call that his new deal includes a 10-team no-movement clause for the life of the contract.
“I was playing well, the guys in the locker room were great to me. I felt like I had been there for years. I’m looking forward to hopefully bringing a Cup back there.”
The 28-year-old native of Brantford, Canada, was acquired by the Ducks on Nov. 30 in a trade with the New Jersey Devils. Defenseman Sami Vatanen, an integral cog on the power play, was shipped to New Jersey in the deal, but Henrique’s arrival immediately paid dividends.
He began his Ducks career with a five-game point streak and had 20 goals and 16 assists in 57 games with Anaheim. Henrique quickly gave the squad a reliable third scoring unit, and coach Randy Carlyle credited Henrique’s leadership as one of the main reasons linemate Ondrej Kase enjoyed a breakout season.
With Ryan Kesler’s future in jeopardy (the 33-year-old struggled following offseason hip surgery), Henrique gives the Ducks a bonafide top-six center to play behind captain Ryan Getzlaf.
Henrique also was a staple of both special teams units, and his eight game-winning goals with the Ducks ranked third in the NHL.
With Henrique now signed through the 2023-24 season (he had one year left on the deal he signed with the Devils in 2013), Murray can turn his attention to goaltender John Gibson and forward Jakob Silfverberg, who are both set to reach unrestricted free agency next year.
Murray also must address the status of Kase and defenseman Brandon Montour, who both are restricted free agents and are not under contract for next season.