Less than a month ago, Adam Henrique was skating with the Albany Devils in the AHL. He played in just two games after making the team out of training camp and found himself searching for answers in the minors.
But then, Henrique got his lucky break. After Jacob Josefson broke his clavicle on October 21 against the San Jose Sharks, it was Henrique who came up from Albany to replace him. In that two week span, the rookie forward moved up to the Devils' top line.
The rise up the depth chart is impressive enough. But it's what he's done with the opportunity that has everyone talking.
In two games, Henrique has three goals, including the game-winner in last night's 3-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets. He's collected five points in three games on the top line and has impressed head coach Peter DeBoer.
"We were pretty tough on him in training camp about his play, mostly his play away from the puck and he handled that criticism the right way," DeBoer told Tom Gulitti of The Bergen Record. "He wanted constructive criticism. He wanted to learn what he had to do to get to this level. He went down. He didn't sulk or mope and he's being rewarded for it now."
New Jersey had struggled to score this season. Through nine games, they had just 24 goals. But in their past two games, they've scored six goals, and the top line has a hand in four of them. Linemate Zach Parise has noticed the improvements.
"You can tell the confidence that he's getting, that he's gaining, especially after the goal he got in Philadelphia," Parise told Gulitti. "It's amazing what something like that can do for a player. He's developing really well and really quickly."
With Travis Zajac still recovering from an Achillies injury and Josefson out for the next few months, the team needs Henrique to play well. The rookie hopes to continue contributing to the team's recent success.
"Any time you're scoring goals and helping out the team to win is great," Henrique told Gulitti. "My focus every game is not just to come in and score two goals. It's to come in and do what I can to help the team win and some nights that's not going to be scoring goals. Some nights that's going to be taking care of our own end first and taking care of the D zone. However I can help the team win is great for me."