Mike Hurlbut was the New York Rangers' 1st pick, 5th overall, in the 1988 Supplemental Draft. He was traded to Quebec on September 7, 1993 for Alexander Karpotsev. Buffalo acquired the free agent on August 11, 1997. He played in one game for the Sabres in 1998-99 and played one game in the 1999-2000 season as well.
Hurlbut played his junior hockey with St. Lawrence of the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Association from 1985-89. He played part of the 1988-89 season in the International League with Denver before going to Flint for the 1989-90 season. He was named to the NCAA East First All-American Team in 1989. In 1990-91, he played in the IHL with San Diego and Binghamton of the AHL. Hurlbut played for Binghamton in 1991-92 while splitting time between both Binghamton and the New York Rangers in 1992-93. In 1993-94, he played for Quebec and Cornwall of the AHL, where he also played the 1994-95 season.
In 1995-96, Hurlbut played with Minnesota and Houston of the International Hockey League. The defenseman was selected as an AHL Second Team All-Star in 1995. He spent the 1996-97 season with Houston and then played in 72 games for Rochester of the AHL in 1998-99 where he scored 15 goals and added 39 assists.
In 2000-01, Hurlbut captained the Planet USA All-Stars in the midseason AHL All-Star Classic