Which teams could take Dougie Hamilton off signing and trading?
The revelation this week that the Carolina Hurricanes have given Dougie Hamilton permission to speak to other NHL teams added a new layer of intrigue to what was already shaping up to be a momentous offseason.
Engaging with other teams puts Hamilton and his agent, JP Barry, a step ahead of free agency to seek out the best deal. If Carolina isn’t ready to pay Hamilton enough to get him to stay, it opens the door for a rare signing and trade. It would also ensure that the pending unrestricted free agent could sign an eight-year agreement instead of a maximum seven-year agreement if it were to enter the free market.
Hamilton has grown into a top offensive defenseman since being drafted ninth in 2011. His 215 points since 2016-17 rank him 13th among defensemen. He is also fifth in even-strength points among defenders and third in shots on goal during that same streak.
A darling of the analytical community, Hamilton could – and some would argue he should – be rewarded with a relatively large increase to his current annual salary cap of $ 5.75 million after garnering votes for the Norris Trophy during each of the last five seasons.
Hamilton is a coveted product and while it’s entirely possible he will end up signing with Carolina again, here are seven teams that might be interested in a player who celebrated his 28th birthday on Thursday.
It’s no secret that defense is the top priority for the Jets this summer and head coach Paul Maurice has openly stated that this is the specific area that needs immediate attention.
“We are looking for that improvement on our rear, but we all know it,” said Maurice. “It doesn’t surprise us and we know our goalie (2020 Vezina Trophy winner Connor Hellebuyck) can stop a lot of pucks. We have to give him a chance to make a difference in the game. The advanced group is becoming a very good advanced group. Our full-back needs to catch up with our goalies, but not everyone has all the pieces all the time, so we’re building that.
Even before the Hurricanes allowed Hamilton to speak to other teams, his name was attached to the Jets regarding free agency speculation.
“I wonder if Dougie Hamilton will be a guy the Jets will look at in free agency or if they will consider a potential successful trade in the backend,” Ken Wiebe of Sportsnet said after Winnipeg was swept away by the Montreal Canadiens in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Having a defenseman like Hamilton who can get pucks effectively in traffic would help Winnipeg’s offense more than adding another talented forward.
Stan Bowman is expected to make an effort for Columbus Blue Jackets mainstay Seth Jones and now you can say the same about Hamilton. A thursday report of The Athletic indicates that the Blackhawks do indeed intend to explore what it would take to acquire and sign Hamilton. Overhead space is an issue for Chicago right now and Hamilton would end up being the team’s third-highest paid player behind Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. Calvin De Haan and Connor Murphy will be UFA after next season. Their combined hits would be in the stage of what Hamilton should be doing.
The Flyers will also be on Jones, so in theory they would be interested in Hamilton. Elliotte Friedman wrote in his latest column 31 Thoughts that he heard “the Flyers’ defensive targets seem to be elsewhere,” but when Hamilton’s next team betting odds were released the Flyers at the top of the list.
The July 21 expansion draft comes a week before the free-standing agencies open, meaning the new NHL team could have some say in where Hamilton goes. We saw how the Vegas Golden Knights took advantage of the expansion project rules to take advantage of the commercial market. As well as racking up additional picks, Vegas was able to add Shea Theodore, Alex Tuch, and Reilly Smith. Circumstances are different with Carolina and Hamilton since he’s a UFA on hold, but Kraken general manager Ron Francis has a long history with the Hurricanes franchise. Would that give him an edge to facilitate a deal with his former team to land a top D-man before the team even set foot on the ice for their first practice?
New York Rangers
The Blue Shirts are a team on the rise and the recent hiring of head coach Gerard Gallant suggests that ownership and management really want to start going. Rangers have stuck Jacob Trouba at $ 8million a year until 2025-2026 and the team have a handful of notable FRGs who need new deals over the next two years, but overall the situation of the team cap is manageable. Adding Hamilton to a young blue line that also has Norris Trophy finalist Adam Fox on the right side would send a huge message to the East.
New Jersey Devils
If you’re Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald, with plenty of room for caps, why not try to lure Hamilton into the Garden State? PK Subban still has a year and $ 9 million on his contract and Hamilton would be an upgrade for both Subban and Damon Severson on the right side. If you’re Hamilton, you can watch the crop of top-notch young forwards like Jack Hughes, Nico Hischier and Pavel Zacha among others and feel encouraged to help the Devils become contenders in the coming seasons. . If Hamilton is to join a team ready to win next season, the Devils will have to look elsewhere to improve the rear.
The Oilers need to improve their blue line and Hamilton would be an improvement, albeit much more costly, for fellow UFA-waiting Tyson Barrie who has just led all defensemen in scoring. Adam Larsson, another right-handed defender is about to hit the free market, so with those two plus Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Alex Chiasson, Dmitry Kulikov and Tyler Ennis potentially all left out, the cap space wouldn’t be a big deal. problem for general manager Ken Holland.
Hamilton at the head of a right-back who also has Evan Bouchard and Ethan Bear while playing alongside Darnell Nurse or a returning Oscar Klefbom would delight many Oilers fans.