After struggling to find his game through most of the season, Colorado Avalanche prospect Nick Henry is finally healthy and is putting on a show at the 2018 MasterCard Memorial Cup.
The 94th overall selection in last June’s NHL Entry Draft, Henry had a very impressive 2016-17 season in which scored 35 goals and added 46 assists in 72 games. Unfortunately, Henry suffered a torn labrum in the second round of the 2017 WHL playoffs. The injury went undiagnosed through the draft combine and it wasn’t until after the Avalanche selected him in the fourth round that Henry underwent surgery to repair his shoulder.
The injury forced Henry to miss his first summer of development with the Avalanche, as well as the first six weeks of the WHL season.
Missing an entire summer of development was an obvious setback for the 18-year-old. Finishing with only 29 points in 53 regular season games, it took Henry a long time to work his way back to be the player he was a year prior. Now, with his Regina Pats hosting the 100th Memorial Cup, Nick Henry is proving to the hockey world that he’s fully recovered and better than he’s ever been.
Playing on a line with Anaheim Ducks first rounder Sam Steel and Edmonton Oilers prospect Cameron Hebig, Henry leads the tournament with 5 goals in only 3 games - highlighted by a hat trick in last night’s round robin finale against the Swift Current Broncos.
Henry opened the scoring with a powerplay marker midway through the first period. Finding open space, Henry was able to blast home a perfect pass from Steel to give Regina the lead.
He picked up his second of the night late in the second period. On the ice for the penalty kill, Henry took advantage of a Swift Current giveaway and created a perfect give-and-go with Steel for his first shorthanded goal of the tournament.
Henry completed the hat trick a minute later burying another beautiful pass from Sam Steel. If nothing else, he is showing that he knows how to finish a one-timer on his off-wing - the calling card of a high-end sniper. This time, Henry was down a lot lower, but was still able to get off a tremendous shot to score from a tough angle.
Henry and the Pats now move on to the semi-final on Friday where they will take on the OHL Champion Hamilton Bulldogs. The Pats beat the Bulldogs 3-2 last week in the tournament opener.
When he fell to them in the fourth round many junior hockey observers thought they Avs were getting a steal in Henry. He had a tremendous point total in his draft season, but many chalked it up to being a part of a dominant team in Regina. Now, on a far less talented team, Henry has become one of the leaders and has shown he fits in perfectly as a go-to sniping winger. It’s been a small sample size, but Avalanche fans have to be ecstatic with how their young prospect is playing on the biggest stage in junior hockey.