The question of who will man the pivots down in Bridgeport has come up a time or two, and we may have a few more answers in two low-level, two-way signings the Islanders announced today:
Andy Hilbert returns to the organization after a one-year hiatus with the Wild organization (all but four games of it spent outside the NHL). Also, much-traveled Rob Hisey, who will turn 26 in training camp, joins the Isles from AHL Springfield.
I've been thinking lately about who will handle the Islanders' faceoff duties now that Richard Park is gone. (Zenon Konopka should take up some of the slack, but is that enough? The young centers will need to improve.) While barring injury disaster -- not out of the question with this club -- I don't expect Hilbert to spend much time with the big club, even if he does he's not the answer in the faceoff department. Two years ago the "center" managed just 38.2% on 186 Islanders faceoffs. Worse, he didn't even bat .500 on powerplay faceoffs (winning 9 of 28), which is where even the worst faceoff takers typically at least tread water.
Even less is known about Hiser, though Michael Fornabaio writes that the diminutive-defined center "revitalized" the Falcons last season. He put up nearly 2 points/game in the CHL before notching 11-14-25 in 37 games with the Falcons, the AHL's worst team in 2009-10. In his mid-20s he's already had an enviable journey as far as journeymen go though: Getting paid to play hockey in Finland, Germany, Austria and Sweden -- all before reaching the age where a male driver's insurance rates finally drop for good.
Hey, it's not riveting, but August hockey news seldom is.