Hilbert in Limbo

TheDriveForFive's picture

With the season starting in about a month, I figured I’d discuss a player that despite his work ethic and passion for the game, may find himself a healthy scratch for most of the season.

That man is Andy Hilbert.

So rather than just end the post right here, I’m going to be fair and present five reasons why Hilbert should be on the Islanders opening night lineup and why he should start the season in Bridgeport.

In the end, you make the decision:

Why should Hilbert stick around?

1- He’s solid on both ends of the ice-

Unlike some of the other youngsters on the Islanders this season that play questionable defense, Hilbert is a solid defender that is willing to sacrifice his body and is adept at making the smart play in his own zone.

2- He’s a great penalty killer-

I can smell the tomatoes coming from every direction right now, but I think Hilbert is a great penalty killer that can make a living in this league for another eight or nine years just because of his play on the PK.

3- He fits the Islanders system-

He’s got a lot to prove and has the speed and potential to be a third liner with some moxie. Considering the fact that he has ties to the Bruins organization and has the skating ability needed to thrive in Scott Gordon’s new system, he may see time on the fourth line this season.

4- He has chemistry with a few players on the team-

Everyone knows that Hilbert plays well with Mike Sillinger and Trent Hunter, but he’s also shown plenty of promise with guys like Richard Park and Sean Bergenheim. If the Islanders offense falters at some point this season, Hilbert may be brought in to shake things up a little bit.

5- The Islanders know what he’s capable of-

Unlike the bevy of Islanders rookies this season who will be going into the year with virtually no experience in key situations, the Isles know that Hilbert can play well enough on the third and fourth line that he won’t be a detriment on either end of the ice. His play may be mediocre, but it also may be better than coddling a bunch of rookies all season.

Why should Hilbert start the season in Bridgeport?

1- He’s proven himself at the AHL level time and time again-

He’s had several solid seasons in the league and can help several of the youngsters.

2- He can’t finish in the NHL-

Take a look at his career shooting percentage in the AHL compared to the NHL. Scary stuff.

3- The youngsters need more playing time-

Jeff Tambellini on the bench in favor of Hilbert for the third season in a row? Not anymore.

4- He’s nowhere near as dynamic a player as the rookies currently on the Isles roster-

Hilbert has the heart of a lion, but isn’t even close to being the player a Kyle Okposo, Jeff Tambellini or a Blake Comeau can turn into.

5- The Islanders know what he’s capable of-

The choice is simple; wait for rookies to produce or get stuck with Hilbert on a second or third line again this season. Waiting will definitely produce more than that seven or eight goals and 25 points Hilbert will come up with this season. Suddenly, waiting doesn’t seem like a bad option anymore.