ANAHEIM — Adam Henrique played in all 71 games of the Ducks’ coronavirus pandemic-shortened season in 2019-20. He played in all 82 games in 2018-19 and 57 games in 2017-18, after they acquired him from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for Sami Vatanen on Nov. 30, 2017.
But when the Ducks took the ice Sunday to face the St. Louis Blues at Honda Center, Henrique was not in their lineup. Coach Dallas Eakins shuffled the Ducks’ lines dramatically less than 24 hours after a 6-1 loss to the Blues, their first genuine clunker of the season.
Henrique went into Sunday with one goal and one assist and a minus five plus/minus defensive rating, tied with Kevin Shattenkirk, Jakob Silfverberg and Rickard Rakell for the team-low after nine games. Henrique was on the ice for three of the Blues’ goals Saturday.
So, Eakins scratched Henrique from the lineup.
“We talked to the whole group in training camp about accountability,” Eakins said after the Ducks’ 4-1 loss to the Blues. “I’m not pinning that last game (Saturday) on Adam. We could have taken five guys (out of the lineup), but we have to put a lineup out there. Adam was upset.
“But Adam is a man of high character. He understands why. He’s going to respond, for sure. I think others took great notice. As hard as that is for the individual player, as hard as that is for his teammates to see that, I’m a big believer that … they want accountability and discipline.
“But I want to make it clear. That first game against St. Louis wasn’t on Adam Henrique.”
Sam Steel was shifted into Henrique’s spot as the center on the Ducks’ second line, skating between Silfverberg and Danton Heinen. Andrew Agozzino was recalled from the San Diego Gulls of the AHL and skated between Max Comtois and Rickard Rakell.
Max Jones, Ryan Getzlaf and Troy Terry made up a new top line. David Backes, who made his 2020-21 debut Saturday against the Blues, joined Nicolas Deslauriers and Carter Rowney on the fourth line. Derek Grant was scratched for the second game in a row because of an upper-body injury.
Trevor Zegras scored the shootout winner and had two assists as the Gulls rallied for a 4-3 victory in an AHL exhibition game against the Bakersfield Condors, his third multi-point game. Jamie Drysdale scored his first goal for the Gulls, who open the regular season Friday against Bakersfield.
Zegras was the Ducks’ top pick in 2019 (ninth overall) and Drysdale was their top selection in ’20 (sixth).