Hickey hopes change of scenery does him good
by Christian Arnold/Correspondent
UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- New Islander defenseman Thomas Hickey took part in his first team practice Thursday Morning. The catch, though, was that he had laced up his skates and donned an Islander jersey the night before in a scrimmage against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
“It was a busy day,” Hickey said after Thursday’s practice. “Just sort of packed my bags and got here as quick as I could… That was a good way to start it, get into a game and get the feet moving. It was a fun way to start.”
Hickey was claimed Tuesday afternoon from the Los Angeles Kings. He was at home preparing for a Manchester Monarchs game later that night when he got the call that he was now an Islander.
“I was just about to eat my pregame meal and I got a phone call,” he said. “It was very exciting. The best news I’ve heard in a long time, so I’m very fortunate.”
The 23-year-old Calgary, Alberta native is a former fourth overall selection from 2007. Since being drafted, he has played his entire professional career for the Monarchs in the AHL. He posted a 3-23-26 stat line in 76 games last season. Hickey was also a team best plus-16.
But despite the strong season in Manchester, Hickey believes the change of scenery will be good for him.
“It was just a situation where I don’t think it was going to get any better,” he commented. “I was playing really good hockey, but they have a blueprint there for what’s obviously worked for them… I just don’t think I was part of that plan, but I feel like I played a ton of good hockey.
“It was nice that the Islanders took a waiver on me and I’m going to make them happy they did.”
The former Kings’ prospect doesn’t come into the Isles locker room entirely as the new guy. During his time in the AHL, he did play a few games with Matt Moulson. Hickey also played with John Tavares for Team Canada during the World Junior Championship.
Hickey could potentially make his NHL debut on Saturday against the New Jersey Devils. His chances have improved since the Isles sent Jon Landry back to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and Griffin Reinhart was sent back to his junior club.
“It’s hard not to think that,” Hickey said about possibly making his NHL debut. “But at the same time there’s a lot stuff I need to do that’s new. Systems to learn and there’s other D-men her too that are thinking the same thing. It’s sort of one day at a time and then if you get that call just be ready to do it. I’ll be thrilled, so I just have to work my way to that point first.”