Monday, July 18, 2011

Randy Hillier

For eleven National Hockey League seasons, Randy Hillier was able to survive as an underappreciated yet handy journeyman defenseman. He was a dedicated team player who always found a job as a 5th or 6th defenseman by relying on playing a defense-only game play. He made good clearing passes out of his zone, but otherwise created little offensively. Although he wasn't big by NHL standards - 6'1" and 190 pounds - he was very strong and thus effective at the physical game in his own zone.

The Boston Bruins drafted the Toronto native 102nd overall in the 1980 entry draft. After a year and a half in the American Hockey League he played a quiet role in 2 and 1/2 seasons in Beantown before he was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1985. It was with the Penguins that Hillier is best remembered. He played 7 seasons in Pittsburgh and developed his reputation as a dependable rearguard. Although he had his share of injury problems, Hillier was able to get his name on the Stanley Cup in 1991 with the Penguins.

Hillier missed out on the Penguins repeat championship performance as he opted to use his rights as an unrestricted free agent to sign with the New York Islanders in 1990-91. However his stay on Long Island was short - just 8 games - as he was included in a blockbuster trade with the Buffalo Sabres. Hillier was a throw-in which also saw Pat Lafontaine, Randy Wood and a draft choice come to Buffalo in exchange for Pierre Turgeon, Uwe Krupp, Benoit Hogue and Dave McLlwain.

Hillier's stay in Buffalo would prove to be short as well. He participated in just 28 games before his NHL career came to a close. He would spend the 1992-93 season in Austria before hanging up his skates for good.

He retired with 543 NHL games under his belt. In that time he scored 16 goals and 110 assists for 126 points


Rob Koci said...

Is this the same Randy Hillier that is now an MPP for the Conservatives in Ontario?

Joe Pelletier said...

No Rob, that is a different Randy Hillier

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