Talented young forward agrees to terms with NYI on one-year deal
The New York Islanders have agreed to terms on a one-year contract with 25-year old forward Andy Hilbert, who finished last season by scoring 7-11-18 in 19 games with the Pittsburgh Penguins and as a member of Team USA at the World Championships.
"One of our goals is to provide opportunities to young players that our staff believes have potential and could be ready for a breakout," said Islanders Vice President and general manager Neil Smith. "We believe that Andy Hilbert is such a player."
The 5-11, 195-pound Hilbert was a combined 12-15-27 in 47 games last season with Chicago and Pittsburgh. Originally a second round pick of the Bruins in 2000, the Michigan native is 15-18-33 in 85 NHL games with Boston, the Blackhawks and Penguins.
During the NHL work stoppage in 2004-05, Hilbert was the leading scorer for the Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League and was named AHL Second Team All-Star. His 37-42-79 ranked him ahead of such notable teammates as Brad Boyes and Patrice Bergeron. He was also Providence's leading scorer in the 2004 Calder Cup playoffs, with seven goals and 14 assists.
"In a year when the AHL had even more young talent than usual, Andy was one of the league's dominant players," said Smith. "We feel strongly that he can be an integral part of our team."
"I'm very excited about the opportunity the Islanders have given me," said Hilbert, an AHL All-Rookie selection in 2001-2002 and a WCHA First Team All-Star in 2000-01 while at the University of Michigan. "I'm friends with Rick DiPietro
from the USA Hockey programs and he says Long Island is a great place to play hockey. I'm really looking forward to showing the organization and the fans what I can do."