|Francis Wathier in the foreground (Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)|
One of just four remaining inaugural season Texas Stars, Francis Wathier was reassigned by the Dallas organization today to the Milwaukee Admirals. In return, Nashville reassigned Kevin Henderson to the Texas Stars. Both players stat with their NHL clubs, as this is just an AHL assignment move.
Wathier has been a loyal soldier for Dallas for many years. After being drafted by the team in 2003, he has played his entire career in the organization including a Kelly Cup win in Idaho and the Calder Cup run in 2010. His role on the team has diminished over the last few years to the point that he has been a healthy scratch more often than not recently. His status as a veteran has not helped matters either.
With this move he will be able to get into the lineup regularly and make a difference for the Admirals. Kevin Henderson is not a veteran, which helps his case to stay in the lineup for Texas.
I got a chance to speak with Texas Stars GM Scott White this afternoon on the topic.
What was the timeline of the trade?
"The last 7-10 days you are managing your roster. That goes for the NHL and AHL and seeing where everything is with health and opportunities. Francis wasn't getting an opportunity here and this allows him to get a new one. Francis served the Dallas and Texas Stars and Iowa Stars very well. I thank him for his service and this will give him a chance to extend his career."How much of this was a conversation with Wathier to see if he'd be open to the move?
"Francis and I had communicated in the past but not recently. It's one of those where I know the player enough, know he wants a chance to play. He wasn't getting an opportunity to play with us based on our vet status. This gives him a chance."What does Kevin Henderson bring into the lineup?
"Henderson brings experience and size. He's a smart player. He's played against Texas a lot so there is some familiarity. It's the first time he's been moved so I'm sure it will be a bit of a challenge for him. I'm sure he will acclimate quickly."Any thought to Texas' remaining schedule not having any games against Milwaukee in making the trade?
"No, it just worked out this way."Do you anticipate any other movement in the next three days?
"We just have to see where it all works out. We have some depth and the vet status is now in a better spot. We have to watch and see now."Here is the official release from Texas:
The Texas Stars, proud American Hockey League affiliate of the Dallas Stars, announced today that Dallas has reassigned left wing Francis Wathier to the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals. In addition, the Nashville Predators have reassigned left wing Kevin Henderson from Milwaukee to Texas.
Wathier, 29, has nine points (5 goals, 4 assists) and 41 penalty minutes in 48 games for Texas this season. The St. Isidore, Ontario native was drafted by Dallas in the sixth round (185th overall) of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft and has spent his entire nine-year professional career under NHL contract with the Stars. Wathier inked his entry-level contract with Dallas on July 27, 2005 and has appeared in 519 career professional games, including 492 games in the AHL and 10 NHL games with the Stars.
An Original Texas Star, having playing in all five years of the team’s existence, Wathier has played in 328 career games for Texas, recording 146 points (65 goals, 81 assists) and 391 penalty minutes. On the Stars’ all-time charts, he ranks second in penalty minutes and game-winning goals (11), third in games played, points, shots (742) and shorthanded goals (4) and fourth in goals, assists and power play goals (22). He is one of only three players to appear in all 39 Calder Cup playoff games in franchise history and is the only Texas player to score a shorthanded goal during the post-season.
Henderson, 27, has appeared in 50 games this season for Milwaukee, scoring 14 points (7 goals, 7 assists) and adding 14 penalty minutes. The Toronto, Ontario native is in his fifth professional season and has played in 290 career pro games, including 284 AHL games with the Admirals and the Worcester Sharks. Henderson has also skated in 17 career Calder Cup playoff games with Worcester and Milwaukee, including three games against Texas during the 2013 West Division Semifinals, where he scored his first career playoff goal.
Undrafted after playing three seasons of major junior hockey for the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL and two years of Canadian CIS hockey for the University of New Brunswick, Henderson signed his first pro contract with the NHL’s San Jose Sharks on April 22, 2009. He made his NHL debut with Nashville on April 19, 2013 and scored his first career NHL goal in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. Henderson played in four total NHL games with the Predators, all last season.