The New York Islanders have locked up another of their young defensemen, signing Thomas Hickey to a two-year, one-way deal worth $1.35 million.
The contract carries an average annual cap hit of $675,000, and is a good deal for both parties.
The Isles retain a 24-year-old blueliner who, in 2013, posted career highs in games played (39) and points (four) while making both his NHL regular-season and playoff debuts.
For Hickey, the deal gives him a chance to stick with the club that revived his NHL career.
The captain of Canada’s gold medal-winning Junior team from 2009, Hickey — the Kings’ No. 4 overall pick at the ’07 NHL Entry Draft — failed to make good on the promise that made him the first defenseman selected in his draft class (ahead of Karl Alzner, Ryan McDonagh and Kevin Shattenkirk.)
He spent the first four-plus seasons of his pro career playing for L.A.’s AHL affiliate in Manchester, as injuries and a deep Kings blueline kept him from making the jump to the NHL.
The Islanders claimed Hickey off waivers prior to the start of the 2013 campaign, and he responded with a solid effort.
He’ll likely play a bigger role in 2013-14, as the Isles lost the services of veteran captain Mark Streit and only have seven defensemen on the current active roster.