COLUMBUS, Ohio – New forwards Adam Henrique and Joseph Blandisi will make their debuts with the Ducks on Friday night when they face off against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena.
The two arrived here Thursday night after the Ducks (11-10-4) acquired them from New Jersey for defenseman Sami Vatanen in a deal where the teams also swapped future third-round draft picks.
Henrique will be playing his first game with a new team after suiting up in 455 with the Devils, for whom the 27-year-old became a fan favorite from the moment he made an impact as a rookie. The seven-year veteran started getting acquainted with the Ducks, dining with former junior teammate Cam Fowler after arriving.
“It’s just nice to get back into a routine basically,” Henrique said. “It was nice to get into the hotel, settle down and then just grab some breakfast and come and start meeting all the guys. It’s been pretty crazy the last 24 hours here, but it’s nice to get in here, get a skate and just get ready for tonight.”
Blandisi, 23, is getting an opportunity that disappeared with the Devils after they took Nico Hischier No. 1 overall and put young forwards like Miles Wood, Jesper Bratt and Brian Gibbons into their lineup. He was playing in the AHL after appearing in part of the past two seasons with the big club.
“You want to play in the NHL,” Blandisi said. “That’s your goal. That’s what I dreamed of growing up as a kid. Haven’t had that opportunity yet this year. I’ve been able to play the last two years and had some success as well.
“But with the young guys, that first overall draft pick and a couple of surprises at camp in Jersey, I wasn’t really able to crack the roster. Excited to be here, one door closes, another one opens. I’m just definitely excited to get out there and show what I got.”
Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said he plans to have Henrique play on the power play, but held off committing to immediate usage on the penalty kill. Carlyle readily acknowledged he has been “playing people above their normal ring on the ladder” as he inserts the proven veteran.
“You can’t really put too many high expectations on an individual in his first game,” he said. “He’s going to have to get his feet underneath and get an understanding of how things go. The type of team that we have, the players that he’s going to play with. All that. So it’ll be a new experience for him.”
Henrique and Blandisi join a lineup that may…