With training camp less than a week away, new Predators forward Matt Hendricks is getting settled in his new digs. After he and his family moved to Music City late last month, Hendricks said he’s finally getting all the boxes unpacked in his new home.
“Getting signed early in July gives you a better opportunity to kind of plan things out, check your schedule and do things accordingly,” he said. “It’s been kind of a whirlwind, a crazy summer, but I’m really looking forward to getting things going here.”
Hendricks, 32, signed a four-year, $7.4 million contract with the Predators on the first day of NHL free agency. He was one of four free-agent forwards brought in to make the team tougher to play against on a nightly basis. Hendricks is known for sticking up for his teammates and playing a consistently “hard” game, as Predators head coach Barry Trotz would put it.
That’s what Hendricks has been doing his whole career – including his last three seasons in Washington – and that certainly won’t change in Nashville.
“You can’t take nights off. You have to have a lot of energy. You have to play with that grit and bring it every night,” he said. “I’ve accustomed myself to doing that; I’ve been very consistent at it over the last three years and I can’t see why I can’t bring it here.”
Hendricks was originally drafted by the Predators in the fifth round 13 years ago. He has bounced around the minor leagues, has played in 263 NHL games without once donning the blue and gold – until now. The Blaine, Minn., native has spent the last week skating with his new teammates and is happy to be back in the organization where his NHL dream essentially began.
“This is an organization I’ve wanted to be in since I was drafted by them in 2000. It was a good opportunity for me,” he said. “You can really tell it’s a classy organization from the top all the way down to the bottom. I’m really looking forward to playing here.”