2022 Florida Everblades vs Toledo Walleye

Walleye, Hensick Close To Fairytale Ending

Walleye, Hensick Close To Fairytale Ending

Maybe Hensick has saved the best for last, making big contributions for the Walleye in what’s been the first long playoff run of his career.

Jun 1, 2022 by Mike Ashmore
Walleye, Hensick Close To Fairytale Ending

T.J. Hensick is hoping to go out as a champion.

The 36-year-old is four wins away from doing just that, having put together what’s statistically been the best season of a 14-year pro-career to help lead the Toledo Walleye all the way to the Kelly Cup Final this year. 

After telling FloHockey earlier this season that “this most likely will be (his) last season,” the former NHL’er matched or established career highs in goals (22), assists (56) and points (78) in the ECHL this year. But, he’s saved the best for last, making big contributions in what’s been the first long playoff run of his career.

Hensick has played in both the Stanley Cup Playoffs and Calder Cup Playoffs, but he played in just two games for the Colorado Avalanche during their 2008 postseason appearance that ended in the second round. Nor had Hensick been out of the first round during his lengthy stay in the American Hockey League, experiencing first round exits with Peoria, Utica, San Jose and Ontario twice.

Incredibly, having entered the Kelly Cup Playoffs with just 23 games worth of professional postseason experience, the Howell, Michigan native has been one of the Walleye’s top playoffs producers in the clutch. 

The former Avalanche and St. Louis Blues forward is second on the team behind only Brandon Hawkins with 24 points thus far in the postseason, potting 10 goals while adding 14 assists in just 16 playoff contests. 

“Just little moments, like hanging out with my wife after a game or letting my six-year-old run around the locker room, it’s the little things that I’m pretty sure I’ll never get to experience again,” he said earlier this year.

“Whether it’s parents in the stands, friends and family coming to games, card games on the bus, dinner out on the road, those things that once you’re done playing, you’re never going to experience again. Those are the little moments you’re really going to miss.” 

Scoring clutch goals might be on that list as well. He’s scored seven of those ten postseason goals in the last two rounds, including a hat trick in their 5-4, Game 3 win over the Wheeling Nailers in the Central Division Finals. 

Hensick also scored at least one point in each game of the Walleye’s Western Conference Final win over the Utah Grizzlies.

He’ll unquestionably be one of the players to watch when the 2022 ECHL Kelly Cup Final gets underway on Friday, June 3, when only the Florida Everblades stand in the way of the veteran forward walking away from the game on top.