Jack Hillen: 2013-14 Season Review

Glass Jack Hillen had another short season. He might be a good hockey player, but we just don’t know.

By the Numbers

13 Games played
17.8 Average time on ice per game
0 Goals
1 Assists
42.9% Shot attempt percentage during 5v5
22.2% Goal percentage during 5v5
2.4% On-ice shooting percentage during 5v5
94.3% On-ice saving percentage during 5v5

Peter’s Take

Jack Hillen played 23 games in 2012-13 and just 13 in 2013-14. He’s been… rather unlucky.

A broken tibia sent Hillen off the ice in game two. He returned in March, and to his credit was pretty stellar on that California road trip, but he got knocked out, literally, by Alex Ovechkin on March 25, ending his season.

To the team, losing Hillen might seem minor– he’s a $700k depth D who hovers below 20 minutes of ice a night– but the impact was kind of subtly significant. The Caps lost a vet with 250+ games under his belt, a guy who could’ve been a steadying presence for greener Caps defensemen like Oleksy, Orlov, Urbom, Schmidt, Strachan, Schilling, Wey, Carrick, and Brouillette. Wow, the Caps sure played a lot of young D this season.

Hillen has one more year on his contract. He is only 28 and may still have a long NHL career ahead of him, but he must– he absolutely must– stay healthy. The poor bastard.

Hillen on RMNB

Uh… yeah…

In Pictures

Hillen’s poor leg, slammed into the boards by Lance Bouma.

Hillen’s poor brain, slammed into the chest of Alex Ovechkin by Alex Ovechkin.

Your Turn

Did Hillen get hurt while you read this article? Are you sure? (But seriously, folks.) How much did the Hillen injury hurt the Caps? Do you hold out any hope he’ll be a mainstay next year?

Read more: Japers Rink, Peerless

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  • Jack Conness

    Jack Hillen, probably a pretty good guy but he’s a not so good defensemen. It really hurt not having him in the lineup most of the year but that is only because the Caps really didn’t have anyone else to turn to. Hillen wouldn’t play on most other teams in the league. I believe he has one more year left on his deal so we will see how that plays out.

  • DC Hockey Nut

    I cannot say I agree with you on this one. Frankly his sample size is so small over the last two seasons that I cannot really judge him one way or another. I would not be surprised that even if he manages to stay healthy next season (assuming he’s recovered from his concussion) that his performance takes a dip, but after having essentially not played hockey for two seasons? It would be understandable.

  • Shaun Phillips

    Agreed. And remember, those 2 partial seasons have been with Oates/CalleJo as the coaches. Not exactly the best situation to determine how good of a player a defenseman is. Hopefully he can stay healthy and we get a coach (c’mon Trotz) who knows wtf he’s doing.

  • Jack Conness

    We can agree to disagree. I guess I just don’t see much out of him. I hope I’m wrong.

  • Marky Narc

    Hillen’s injury had a much bigger impact than it should have. It really exposed how thin the D-corps were after the Carlznereen. Once Orlov got a chance, things improved a bit, but that third D-pairing was a real [Sheehey] show all season long. I really feel for Hillen – I just want him to have a full season with us where he can do his thing on that third pairing, munch up 13 minutes or so a night and simply be a player that doesn’t have to give us many highs just as long as he doesn’t give us any lows.

  • Julie Fainberg

    This was life changing. Thank you RMNB for once again enriching my life.

  • Lawrence

    Haha good review. Don’t have much to say about Jack, other than I feel bad for him. In the time we have seen him, I think he would be a solid 5-6th defenseman, but I don’t want to see him anywhere near the top 4.

  • tpr04

    Hillen is probably more of an AHL caliber callup guy or a 3rd pairing guy on a poor team. He would not be in the top 6 of most, if not all, of your playoff teams. Look at his background – he played for a lousy Isles team, a short stint with Nashville, was not resigned by either team, and played on a bottom 10 defense in DC.

    Seems like he’s probably a good guy, but his high end appears to be the 3rd pairing of a bottom 10 NHL team or AHL callup for a 2nd tier playoff team. Kind of uncanny how much he resembles George McPhee though.

  • Pat Magee

    He could be a great 3rd pair guy, or a throw-in with a trade

  • Sarah

    Just as it’s not paranoia if everybody is really out to get you, you’re not glass if that first hit breaks your leg or that second one knocks you out. I’m a bad example as a bird-boned woman, but I’m pretty sure that’s what would happen to me in both cases.

  • Jonah

    the one thing he seemed to do was calm down mike green during the cali trip. he might have some influence on the locker room and the D side of the bench.

  • RESmith

    I agree that Hillen’s top-end is as a third pairing guy. But totally disagree that he is nothing more than “AHL caliber callup guy… ..on a poor team.” He is a solid player with good mobility and some decent puckhandling skills. Yes, it was a small sample, but he played really well for us in the third pairing in the last quarter of the 12-13 season. That is why he was given an extension.

    The problem this year was he started on the second pair with Green due to salary cap issues and Oates being stubborn on his perspective of Orlov. Then he got hurt 2 games in and the precarious depth that we did have evaporated. (Now that I think about it, we are lucky that Carlson, Alzner and Green were relatively healthy and didn’t miss any extended time or this season would have been a much bigger disaster than it was.)

    He is an affordable option for the 3rd pair or the 7th Dman and I’d be happy if he returned next year. Right now in Carlson, Green and Orlov we have the making of a mobile blueline with at least one player that can be put on each pairing that is highly mobile and skilled at moving the puck up on the breakout. That is why I rather have Hillen over Erskine because he add to that and can spot anyone of those players for short periods if needed. The only concerns are his fragility and the Caps needing to sign solid 2nd pair defensive Dman to paly with Green.

  • Shaun Phillips

    Don’t get me wrong, there’s no way he’s a top 4 d-man. But I see him as a solid guy who can rotate into the 5-6 slots. Pair him with Oleksy or Erskine (let Carrick spend a year in Hershey).

  • Dominic Kreiner

    See, this is why I love RMNB. The opening picture was so apt that reading the article, though highly enjoyable, was frankly unnecessary. Great work as always Peter