1-3-4 in 39 games
Most often seen: paired with Lubomir Visnovsky
Contract status: RFA this summer, $700k salary in 2012-13 ($700k cap hit)
Obligatory YouTube video of: beating Montreal in OT
Thoughts on the new contract: As he signed a two-year deal yesterday, it makes sense that we return to our off-season report cards with Thomas Hickey. His new deal will still make him a restricted free agent when it expires, a sort of "prove-it" contract that works out for the team and is about the only option the player had. Hickey wasn't able to elect arbitration, so he had very minimal leverage in this scenario. Now, he lines up to get two years in the NHL to show what he can do. That length also doesn't tie up the Islanders, who have a whole slew of defenders in the pipeline, something that is also going to result in a lot of pressure on Hickey to perform and earn that next contract.
Thoughts on 2012-13: Hickey joined the Islanders in January, as he was claimed off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings. The Kings essentially gave up on a former #4 overall pick who couldn't crack their system (in all fairness, the pick was a reach at the time) both due to depth and Hickey not realizing his NHL potential.
We've seen that from him on Long Island, as there hasn't been much to show for his offense. He had only four points in 39 games. The scouting report on Hickey does tout his ability to run a power play unit, something he hasn't gotten a chance to do. Maybe with Mark Streit gone that opportunity will present itself.
However, Hickey was extremely effective paired with Lubomir Visnovsky as the Isles second defensive unit. While pairing two offensive defenders together might sound weird, it actually worked out well. Both players have an excellent ability to get the puck up ice, something that seemed to really help the Islanders. The team also got a ton of shots towards the opposing net when Hickey was on the ice, more evidence that even though he wasn't on the scoresheet much there were some important positives to his play.
All that said, if Hickey can increase his scoring output, he'll have a nice raise when that next contract comes due. Personally, I'd like to see more scoring from him on the blueline.