Imagine the surprise of Islanders fans everywhere, when on April first (also known as April Fools Day) and at this stage of the season the Islanders announced they signed an NCAA prospect defenseman out of nowhere. Well, I know that I was surprised and did a bit of a double take when I read the headline.
After doing a bit reading up on Hillen, he was apparently a sought after prospect whom decided to sign with the Islanders—citing Snow’s “honesty and comittment to building around youth”. To me that’s a pretty good sign when scoring leader of all d-men in NCAA division 1 hockey signs on with your club as a free agent. Hillen will be thrown right in the fire on Thursday night when the Islanders host the rival New York Rangers. Welcome to
New York Long Island Jack!
Here is a bit more information from the Islanders website:
The New York Islanders have agreed to terms on a two-year contract with Jack Hillen, the leading scorer among defensemen in NCAA Division I hockey.
The 22-year old Hillen, who completed four years at Colorado College by being named Defenseman of the Year in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association in 2007-08, will join the Islanders for practice on Wednesday and could make his NHL debut later this week. The Islanders host the New York Rangers on Thursday at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum and play the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Friday.
In 41 games this season with Colorado College, the 5-11, 200-pound native of Minnesota had six goals and 31 assists for a Division I-leading 37 points among defensemen.
“We are very proud that Jack made the decision to join the Islanders,” said general manager Garth Snow. “He was one of the prized college free agents for good reason. He is an excellent puck-moving defenseman and our scouting staff is really impressed by his competitive spirit. Jack Hillen becomes a major addition to our list of top prospects.”
“I liked the way Garth Snow and Islanders management came after me with honesty and a commitment,” Hillen said this afternoon, soon after signing his contract. “They are building a team around a core of exciting young players. I know Kyle Okposo well from playing against him and he had many glowing things to say about how the organization has treated him. The Islanders were the perfect fit for me.”
If this prospect pans out, you can add him to an ever growing list of prospects who continue to impress. The season may be ending in three games, but it will be little bits of good news such as this that will keep Islanders hockey interesting throughout the off season.