From 2012-2018, Thomas Hickey was a mainstay on the New York Islanders blue line. Is his time in the NHL up with them?
In July of 2018, the New York Islanders reached a four-year agreement with Thomas Hickey. This came just hours after John Tavares left for the Toronto Maple Leafs, so it wasn’t something that got a lot of attention but at only $2.5 million AAV it wasn’t a bad deal at the time.
Hickey was coming off a career year with 25 points (5 goals, 20 assists) in 69 games. For six straight years, Hickey was a solid third pair option whether it was with Lubomir Visnovsky or whichever other rotational player the Islanders paired him with in the later years, he was pretty reliable.
Hickey’s 2018-2019 campaign got off to a rough start. He had just four points (0 goals, 4 assists) in 40 games that year and eventually got replaced by Devon Toews. Going from someone who played 60+ games a year to less than half, even with the injury, came as a surprise.
Well, in 2019-2020 Hickey saw zero time with the Islanders. Out of camp, he was sent to the AHL as Noah Dobson made the roster. Unfortunately, due to health issues, and the passing over his brother, Hickey played just 14 games in the AHL.
2019-2020, after a disappointing 2018-2019 became a wash for him for reasons out of his control. He’s still under contract for two more years, but will he ever see action in the NHL with the Islanders ever again?
At this point, it’s really difficult to say. When fully healthy, the Islanders have Nick Leddy, Adam Pelech, Devon Toews, Johnny Boychuk, Ryan Pulock, Scott Mayfield, and Noah Dobson. That’s seven guys right there but there’s no guarantee of Noah Dobson, Nick Leddy, or Johnny Boychuk on the 2020-2021 roster.
If one of those guys is moved, perhaps we see Hickey get the nod to come back up. At this point, I think he’s a serviceable option for a seventh d-man.
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If I was betting, I’d imagine he starts out in the AHL next year, with a chance to get called up depending on the situation. He’s kind of the forgotten man in this group, but when healthy he can still be an effective NHL player.