Kevin Henderson is coming back to the Texas Stars.
Kevin Wilson, manager of communications for the Nashville Predators, confirmed the plan Friday.
“The intention is to again assign Kevin Henderson to Texas in time for their training camp,” Wilson wrote in a e-mail after an inquiry about the forward’s status. The move is dependent on Henderson clearing waivers.
Henderson is still property of the Predators and is entering the second year of a two-way deal with Nashville. However, last season he fell out of favor in Milwaukee and was assigned to Texas in exchange for Francis Wathier on March 9.
The deal jump-started Henderson’s season. After registering just 14 points in 50 games with the Admirals, he added instant depth and physicality on Texas’ fourth line. In 15 regular season games he registered 8 points, then added six more in 21 playoff games as he helped Texas to its first Calder Cup title.
“My agent and I talked to the Predators assistant GM and I wanted to see if there was a way I could come back to Texas,” Henderson said. “I actually wanted to see if I can get my NHL rights traded to Dallas, I don’t know what’s happening with that. But, they said they’d loan me here for the whole season, and that’s something I was looking for.”
Henderson was in a state of limbo after the season. The 27-year-old left winger didn’t know where he’d end up when he met with reporters for exit interviews.
“It’s obviously a really weird situation. I was able to come in here and help the team and we won. But then now I’m property of Nashville and Milwaukee,” Henderson said back in June. “I don’t necessarily know what’s going to happen, I guess they’ll talk and hopefully maybe figure something out. I’d love to come back here.”
Despite his strong play with Texas, Henderson isn’t part of Nashville’s future plans and wasn’t amongst the 62 players invited to Predator’s training camp.
For Texas, Henderson brings the group of veterans up to six — Maxime Fortunus, Cameron Gaunce, Derek Meech, Travis Morin, Greg Rallo, and now Henderson. Remember, only seven veterans can play per the AHL’s Vet rule.
Henderson’s assignment to Texas could be the bridge to his next NHL contract. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent after this season.
For the time being, he’s more than happy to be in Texas.
“This is a place guys want to come to, you talk to older guys across the league and you see how much people want to play for Texas,” Henderson said. “It’s an organization that does it right. I remember when I came in last year, we lost our first game. But, then we won like 13 straight, that right there showed me how well this team is run.”