Sunday's final review of the Islanders puts the spotlight on forward Andy Hilbert.
Overview: Hilbert was signed at the beginning of UFA last July for two years.
Season: Andy Hilbert seemed to pick up right where he left off from a year ago after being injured down the stretch but was praised by Ryan Smyth for hanging in to help the club.
His defense game, his work in the corners, his work on the penalty kill and his speed are noticeable. Having written that he also simply cannot score as he did two years ago with Pittsburgh and that's what the Isles needed most from him.
He started this year back where he was before the Isles traded for Smyth with Mike Sillinger and Trent Hunter (after Jon Sim's injury) but unlike the year before that line did not produce or help win many games with it's offense as it did in the second half. He saw time on the second line before Bergenheim took the spot and has the stronger impact. Eventually he found himself on a fourth line as a center where he has a descent scoring stretch and finally found himself on the first line for an extended period where he played well defensively. He got his chances but again simply could not finish in a position that demands production.
Andy Hilbert is signed for 2008-09, the coach has praised his for his work on several occasions. Having written that how many players can this team carry who simply cannot score and show no signs of developing into scorers who cannot make an impact on the score sheet? How do you justify holding back a prospect who needs a real opportunity on left wing or center, do you cheat your defense which Hilbert brings for more skill and scoring and perhaps rookie mistakes from a player who is not as strong defensively?
I like Andy Hilbert, on another team with scoring he would be a good checking forward. I just do not see him as the answer on this club and I think someone who could do more deserves his spot, even if that means he is placed on waivers.
I cannot give a poor grade to a player who worked hard who simply does not have scoring skills. For me it was an average year where he skated and did a solid job at what he does best. To hold it against him for not being what he is not would not be fair. Andy Hilbert receives a C.