According the the official Red Wings Twitter feed, we've got a brand new, but not-unfamiliar D-Man in the organization.
UPDATE: The #RedWings have signed defenseman Joe Hicketts to a three-year entry-level contract. Congrats, @Hicksy_2! pic.twitter.com/6lRERL55bG— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) September 24, 2014
Hicketts is the 5'8" 187-pound left shooting defenseman* out of Kamloops who escaped out of this year's draft untaken and then impressed at the Traverse City Prospects Tournament. Had he not been signed by the Wings, they would have had to have hoped to be able to snap him up in next year's draft. Corey Pronman had him ranked at 40th in his last pre-draft rankings, but thanks to a combination of his size and in not playing more than 40 games last season, he slipped through.
As Hicketts is 18 still, his contract will be eligible to slide for up to two years provided he doesn't play in 10 or more NHL games during either season. Considering where the Wings are at on defense right now, it's likely he'll spend both of those seasons in junior, but the scouting reports on him are very high and he'll be given an opportunity to push his way up the pecking order.
Terms of Hicketts' 3-year ELC have not been released, nor are they up on Capgeek now. The hit is capped by ELC contract rules, explained here.
Overall, I really like this signing. Hicketts probably won't be NHL-ready for a couple years, so the slide isn't an issue. After the four kids vying for NHL readiness now, the Wings do have a need to start rebuilding the defensive prospects. Hicketts is a smart puck-mover who doesn't let the size disadvantage slow him down. He's comparable to Adam Almquist, who the Wings recently lost back to Europe (although they retain Almquist's rights). The main difference is that Hicketts is heavier and already has a better feel for both the physical style and dimensions of the North American rink.