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In an effort to bolster their defense, the New York Islanders are returning Thomas Hickey on a four-year deal.

According to Darren Dreger of TSN, the New York Islanders and Thomas Hickey have agreed on a four-year contract extension.

Coming off a three-year deal that paid him $2.2 million annually, the 29-year-old will be making an additional $300,000 on his new four-year deal.

Hickey, originally drafted fourth overall by the Los Angeles Kings in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, was claimed off waivers by the Isles before the 2012-13 lockout-shortened season.

In 409 career games, all with the Islanders, Hickey has recorded 22 goals and 111 points. He netted five goals and a career-high 25 points last season.

Hickey has developed a penchant for scoring clutch goals throughout his career. He has recorded six game-winners, including five in the overtime frame. In the playoffs, he has one goal and six points in 20 contests, with the biggest coming in Game 3 of the Islanders’ first round series against the Florida Panthers in 2016, when he won it for New York in overtime.

Hickey was a team-best plus-20 last season and third on the team with 110 blocked shots in a third-pairing role.

The Calgary, Alberta native spent a lot of time playing with rookie blueliner Ryan Pulock and served as a reliable defensive-defenseman.

Calvin de Haan is now the Islanders’ lone unrestricted free agent, after captain John Tavares left to sign a seven-year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday afternoon.

Chris Wagner and Jaroslav Halak both joined the Boston Bruins, after spending time with the Islanders. The team has also lost forward Nikolay Kulemin and goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis to the KHL.

The Islanders have already re-signed goaltender Christopher Gibson and defenseman Seth Helgeson to two-year, two-way deals.

After letting former restricted free agents (RFA) Brandon Davidson, Shane Prince, Alan Quine, and Kyle Schempp go, the Islanders still have to re-sign RFAs Brock Nelson, Ryan Pulock, Ross Johnston, Devon Toews, and Kyle Burroughs.

Now that it’s past 12:00 pm EST, free agency has officially begun.

As a die-hard New York Islanders fan, I joined ESNY to help keep other Isles fans updated on what's going on with their favorite team. Follow me on Twitter (@Shazen21) for updates on the team and when I post new content and check out my YouTube (Islanders Highlights) for player highlight videos, pump up videos, and more!