Sounds as though the New York Islanders are close to a deal with pending RFA blueliner Thomas Hickey.
Per Newsday’s sources, the contract extension is believed to be of the three-year variety, with Hickey pulling down “in the range of” $6.5 million total — a cap hit of around $2.16M.
For Hickey, 26, it’s a nice bump from the $675,000 he netted annually on his last deal.
The former Kings first-rounder was claimed off waivers by the Isles prior to the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign and has been a steady lineup presence ever since; he’s appeared in 82 and 81 games in consecutive seasons and both set and matched a career-high in points, with 22 each year.
Getting Hickey locked in was fairly important for the Isles, as they dealt away Griffin Reinhart at the draft and don’t expect to return Lubomir Visnovsky.
That puts Hickey in a top-six defensive group with Johnny Boychuk, Travis Hamonic, Nick Leddy, Calvin De Haan and Brian Strait, with youngsters like Ryan Pulock and Scott Mayfield looking to make the leap.
The day after the Isles were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs, news finally started to surface about their injured players — specifically, defenseman Travis Hamonic.
Hamonic, who missed the entire Washington series with an undisclosed ailment, revelaed he suffered a torn MCL on a hit from Pittsburgh’s Rob Scuderi in the second-to-last game of the regular season (as pictured).
That was Hamonic’s last hockey-related activity of the year though, per Newsday, the tear didn’t require surgery — in fact, Hamonic was holding out hope of a Round 2 return, should the Isles have won Monday’s Game 7.
There’s no denying Hamonic was missed. The 24-year-old averaged nearly 22 minutes per night this season and broke out offensively, scoring a career-high 33 points in 71 games. Hamonic was also largely assigned the task of defending Alex Ovechkin during the Isles’ regular-season tilts against the Caps, a job that fell to Johnny Boychuk instead.
Boychuk fared well against Ovechkin but, with injuries also hitting blueliners Calvin de Haan and Lubomir Visnovsky, the Hamonic ailment was even more pronounced. On Monday, the Isles were forced to play AHL recall Scott Mayfield and little-used Matt Donovan a combined 26:24 against Washington.
The Islanders came into their Round 1 series against Washington without the services of defenseman Travis Hamonic, and have since lost Lubomir Visnovsky and Calvin de Haan to injuries.
Now, Michael Grabner could be on the shelf as well.
After appearing in the first two games of the series, Grabner was dropped from the lineup for Game 3 and reported as a healthy scratch — but, according to a report from Austrian news outlet Laola 1, Grabner suffered a groin injury, possibly a hernia, that may require offseason surgery.
The speedy winger has a history of these problems. He underwent sports hernia surgery at the beginning of this year, a procedure that sidelined him for all of October and November (it’s worth noting, however, that surgery was done on Grabner’s left side; the Laola 1 report says this latest injury is on the right.)
The 27-year-old returned to the Isles early December and went on to score eight goals and 13 points in 34 games, and had an assist in his first playoff appearance — a 4-1 Game 1 victory in which Grabner played nearly 13 minutes.
New York is back in action on Saturday at Nassau, trailing the Caps 3-2 in the series and facing elimination for the first time. It seems highly unlikely that Grabner will draw back into the lineup.