Another one, Insiders!
The LA Kings have signed defenseman Joe Hicketts to a one-year, two-way contract carrying an AAV of $775,000.
Hicketts is another depth signing for the Kings, though of a different variety than the players added yesterday. Hicketts is an offensive-minded defenseman, who has a history of point production at the AHL level. Hicketts ranked second in the AHL amongst defensemen last season with 42 assists, while his 48 points were fifth most. 24 of those helpers came on the man advantage, tied for the third most amongst AHL blueliners. The season prior, 2021-22, Hicketts scored 12 goals, tied for third in the league, one shy of the AHL lead amongst defensemen.
The Kings are accumulating players at a very specific number this offseason – $775,000. That is the NHL league minimum, maximizing flexibility with players who could find themselves on the bubble between the AHL and the NHL. Hicketts has certainly trended towards the AHL side throughout his professional career, but he does have 22 NHL games played with Detroit, most recently during the 2019-20 season. Hicketts also presents a different option on the left side compared to other players such as Tobias Bjornfot, Andreas Englund, Jacob Moverare or Kevin Connauton. This is a puck mover and an offensive defenseman, giving the Kings another option in a depth role to choose from. If he is in Ontario, he’s a veteran at that level and a solid producer, who can fill an important role with the Reign. Expect to see movement throughout the season between the NHL and AHL clubs and having multiple options when doing so makes this a solid signing for versatility and depth purposes.
From the team’s official release –
Hicketts, 27, appeared in all 72 American Hockey League (AHL) games for the Iowa Wild last season, notching 48 points (6-42=48) and establishing single-season career highs in assists, points, penalty minutes (69), power-play goals (3) and shots on goal (166). He also added an assist (0-1=1) in two Calder Cup Playoff games.
Signed by the Detroit Red Wings as an undrafted free agent on Sep. 24, 2014, Hicketts has skated in 22 career NHL games – all with Detroit – collecting five assists (0-5=5). The 5-8, 176-pound blueliner began his professional playing career with the Grand Rapids Griffins of the AHL and has earned 197 points (34-163=197) with 280 PIM and a plus-8 rating in 419 career AHL games with Grand Rapids and Iowa. In 31 career Calder Cup Playoff games, Hicketts has produced 12 points (1-11=12) and helped Grand Rapids to a Calder Cup Championship in 2017, where he contributed eight points (1-7=8) in 19 postseason contests.
Prior to turning pro, Hicketts played four seasons of junior hockey in the Western Hockey League (WHL), tallying 173 points (32-141=173) with 149 PIM and a plus-69 rating in 224 career games with the Victoria Royals. He earned WHL Western Conference First All-Star Team honors in 2016 and Second All-Star Team in 2015. Hicketts also skated in 31 WHL playoff games, collecting 15 points (1-14=15).
Internationally, the Kamloops, British Columbia native represented Canada at International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) events on three occasions, including two IIHF World Junior Championships (2016 – alternate captain, 2015 – gold) and one IIHF Under-18 Men’s World Championship (2014 – bronze). In 19 contests, he’s posted 10 points (2-8=10).