I liked Dougie Hamilton in his draft year (ranked him No. 3 defender) and was impressed by his wide range of skills and mobility. Kirk Luedeke had the verbal at the time:
- Kirk Luedeke: Hamilton is a very good skater for a defenseman of his size, exhibiting some real jump and smooth acceleration, top speed, and excellent lateral agility and footwork. His wheels allow him to jump into the play, and he’s a self-described “sneaky offensive player” who scored several of his goals by shooting down into the slot and losing his man in time to rip the puck into the back of the net. With his size and mobility, he can play a shutdown role, but he has a big point shot, so he has power play duty in the NHL as a realistic option. He’s a right-shooter, so on a team with a big lefty, Hamilton could be even more valuable.
By June 2015 he was a fairly established player and my No. 1 choice for fixing the defense:
- Dougie Hamilton (72GP, 10-32-42, 21:20). A perfect fit for Edmonton, as he’s RH and can help in all three facets of the game (5-10-15 on the power play). Fantastic possession numbers and he’s starting to zoom Zdeno based on the numbers. Source
— TSN Hockey (@TSNHockey) October 12, 2016
This is kind of crazy. Hamilton, signed through 2021 summer with a $5.75 million cap hit each season, is on the third pairing. Most of this is probably the new coach trying out a few things (a few crazy things) but at some point things will settle down. What I find interesting is that Hamilton’s possession numbers are good and he is picking up his partner like hell won’t have it. So, let’s review:
- New coach has made a curious decision.
- Hamilton is playing a lesser role.
- Hamilton is elevating the success of the pairing markedly when assigned to the job.
- Rumors about Hamilton being dealt are apparently out there.
That is a bizarre story line, you wouldn’t right that as a possibility on hfboards for fear Unbiased Canadian would stomp your guts out.
IS HE AVAILABLE?
I am going to suggest the answer is no. If you read the insiders and parse their words correctly:
- Pierre Lebrun: “You heard Dougie Hamilton’s name out there this year. I don’t think it was the Flames shopping him. But I know that at least one team, for sure, phoned about his availability and it didn’t go anywhere.” Source Source
- Bob McKenzie: “I get conflicting reports. What I hear in Calgary is Dougie Hamilton is not available. Other people think he is.” Source
There is a distinct lack of a credible thread. It sounds like someone called and were shut down. Whatever Hamilton’s sins, chances are he will be part of the solution and by mid-season we will be swearing at him for good plays wearing the red and white. He is a good player, and he is not 40 and not injured. This will not end with Hamilton being sent away for 10 cents on the dollar.
It is even more difficult to project him onto the Oilers roster. He costs most of $6 million, so Edmonton’s trade options include Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle, Andrej Sekera. Is there a player in there who can be exchanged out and replaced internally? I don’t see it. Do you?