A defenseman a day keeps the prospects away.
The New York Islanders have claimed (and announced on the scoreboard) Thomas Hickey off of waivers from the Los Angeles Kings, in a move that brings another defenseman to camp and takes a shot on a player who was once a top prospect.
Hickey, drafted fourth overall in the 2007 NHL Draft, has still yet to make his NHL debut five years later. Part of that is due to his own performance not living up to his lofty draft stock, though he went on to win gold at the WJC with Canada in 2008 and 2009 (the latter year as captain).
The other part is that other players internally (Drew Doughty, Alec Martinez, Slava Voynov) and externally (Willie Mitchell, Rob Scuderi) have passed him on the rebuild depth chart for what became the 2012 Stanley Cup champion Kings. As Cory Pronman described in September, Hickey's had to transition from a projected offensive defenseman to more of a safe one.
But for the Islanders, who are facing the prospect of Lubomir Visnovsky not being in camp for the start of the season, beggars cannot be choosers. While many will joke about landing on the Island these days, the fact is Hickey was blocked in L.A. and this presents a new opportunity to grab an NHL job before the next wave of Isles prospects try to repeat history for him.
Hickey still possesses potential to be a solid NHL player, and it's safe to say the Kings would prefer not to have lost him. He's a different profile (5'11", 190 lbs.) but with higher potential than yesterday's giant waiver claim Joe Finley.
Add those two to the signing of Radek Martinek, and the Islanders are practically on a defenseman-a-day pace -- to say nothing of their gorging at the 2012 draft. It's suddenly getting really interesting to see how the pairings and depth chart will play out in this very short one-week camp.
At the end of the week, or when Visnovsky reports, decisions and further waivers moves (or IR, wink wink) will need to be made. But forced into an undesirable situation thanks to Lubo's, well, Heim lust, the waiver wire has given the Isles some options.