If you came here looking for names that are gonna set your soul on fire, I’m afraid I can’t help you all that much. It’s the story of my life. As we inch toward Canada Day and the opening of free agency, the longer the Hawks go without making any sort of move the more you’re convinced that they’re not going to do something considered “major.” That doesn’t mean they can’t get better, it just means your friends at work who don’t really know much about hockey are going to ask what’s going on. You won’t enjoy it. This is why I don’t have a job.
Thomas Hickey is a name that won’t go up in neon, nor cause anyone to shake their hands muppet-style at the Convention. But he just might be a help.
Hickey’s numbers over his career aren’t earth-shattering. His 25 points last year are a career-high, and he’s never really been a top-pairing guy. His metrics aren’t groin-grabbing either, until you look a little deeper.
Hickey carried a possession mark above the team rate, though only just barely at 0.4%. However, he and rookie Adam Pelech, when healthy, were taking the most defensive zone starts of anyone on the Isles. Doug Weight didn’t necessarily deploy his defense according to competition but more by zone, as all the six d-men mostly used by the Islanders have the same quality of competition. Perhaps this is why the Isles had their issues on the defensive end. Well, that and they got all the goaltending they might have out of a rodeo clown down and out in Brooklyn. Because how else would a rodeo clown end up there?
So considering he was starting in his own zone more than half the time, Hickey got the play to the other end more than his teammates a lot.
On the downside, Hickey has rarely gotten any power play time, if any at all. So he’s not going to take over either PP QB spot, which the Hawks desperately need. He is lefty and plays the left side, so you’d only be able to pair him with Connor Murphy, and not Duncan Keith unless one of them flips. And as Keith has never flipped sides in his 13 years here, you can guess which one.
Still, if he wasn’t the only move Hickey could certainly help, and he shouldn’t be that expensive. He’s coming off a deal that paid $3.1M a year, and with a 25-point season to his name he’s not going to get more than that. If you were to have him be one of two additions on the blue line, you’d live with that. Say the Hawks did acquire Faulk and went something like:
Well, you could live with that. On its own a Hickey signing isn’t enough. Along with others it might be a sneaky effective one.