The much-expected re-signing of New York Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey is now official, according to Arthur Staple of Newsday.
Thomas Hickey deal is also now official. 3 years, $2.2 million per year. #Isles— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) July 1, 2015
He was a restricted free agent, but the Islanders did not extend him a qualifying offer -- that would have made him an unrestricted free agent today, but clearly the player and team already had an extension agreement in place.
Hickey, a fourth-overall pick of the Los Angeles Kings back in 2007, had to wait a long time both for his NHL debut and for this moment to cash in.
He never appeared in a regular season game with the Kings, and the Islanders scooped him up on waivers before the 2013 lockout season began. The 26-year-old has since logged 48 points for the Islanders and missed only one game over their last two seasons, averaging just short of 19 minutes per game.
Though undersized, he is a reliable possession player and penalty killer who formed a dynamic pairing with Lubomir Visnovsky. Visnovsky, however, did not accept the Islanders' extension offer -- likely a one-year offer with modest compensation -- so Hickey will now have to prove himself with a new partner.