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Hillen has averaged more than 19 minutes in six games since his return. Along the way, Oates has praised the 27-year-old’s skating ability.

“I think that’s the NHL today: You’ve got to be able to skate,” Hillen said. “You can’t be slow out there. The game’s too fast. You’ve got to be able to get back and be able to get up in the play for defensive reasons. … It helps close gaps and helps you be a better defenseman when you’re able to skate and get up in the play.”