Top end defensemen rarely ever get moved once, let alone twice in today’s NHL, but that’s exactly what has happened to Calgary’s Dougie Hamilton.
Hamilton started his career in Boston after being drafted 9th overall from the Niagara Ice dogs, in the 1st round of the NHL entry draft. The pick was originally owned by Toronto but was the final piece in the trade that sent Phil Kessel to the Maple Leafs.
Hamilton broke into the league during the 2012-13 season playing 42 games and putting up 16 points (5G, 11A). He was traded to Calgary during the 2015 NHL draft for a 1st-round-pick and two 2nd-round-picks.
With the Flames, Hamilton has enjoyed his three best years since joining the NHL. He set his career high in points (50) in 2016-17 and his career high in goals (17) last season. His star was burning bright in Calgary, playing top pairing minutes on a team loaded at the D position.
But Hamilton was Calgary’s best trade chip this season, and they used him along with Micheal Ferland and prospect Adam Fox to acquire another young budding defenseman in Noah Hanifin and productive centre Elias Lindholm from the Carolina Hurricanes.
Overall I think this a trade that both teams won, Carolina got tougher and moved out a defenceman on their left side. Calgary gets a reliable centre who has yet to reach his full potential as well as a promising defenseman in Hanifin who should slot into their 2nd pair. Carolina also gets Adam Fox who was Adam-ent (puns) that he wasn’t going to sign with the Flames after he is finished at Harvard.
The trade came as a surprise to some as Hamilton is considering one of the best young offensive defensemen in the NHL. But the writing was on the wall for him.
During the 2017 playoffs, an unidentified Flames official was caught on the mic after a bad penalty, questioning whether or not Hamilton had “a f*****g brain” before ultimately concluding that “He doesn’t because he’s stupid as f**k.” (you can listen here)
For the record Dougie Hamilton was the CHL scholastic player of the year in 2011, so yeah, he has a brain.
Elliotte Friedman notes:
“After making a few calls, this is not about who’s attending team slumber parties. This is about role. Hamilton did not formally request a trade, but there is confirmation there were discussions about his spot in the lineup.”
It seems as if the Flames asked Dougie to take a reduced role, likely to come off the top line in favour of struggling defensemen TJ Brodie who will now once again be reunited with Mark Giordano. Hanifin will most likely end up on the 2nd pairing with Travis Hamonic.
Just to stir the pot, even more, Sportsnet’s John Shannon, on FAN690 told interviewers that while the team would be out at Moxies, Hamilton would be checking out museums. I want to make clear that no, Dougie Hamilton did not get traded because he prefers museums to Moxies. My rule of thumb when it comes to John Shannon is to ignore him until he goes away, just like a check engine light.
Team chemistry can be as important as skill when things aren’t going well. If Hamilton didn’t get along with teammates and that’s why he chose to do his own thing, then that’s another story. So until we know for sure let’s keep our speculations to a minimal. For now, there is still plenty of summers left, and with free agency looming, Hamilton’s name won’t be in tabloids for long.
I also took the time to compile a short list of things for Hamilton to do in North Carolina this season while everyone at dinner.
- The Carolina Basketball Museum – (1 of 6 in Chapel hill) WOW! Who knew?
- Asheville Pinball Museum – home to over 80 pinball machines!
- NASCAR Hall of Fame – If you’re not first, you’re last.
- The Schiele Museum of Natural History – History, naturally.
- Cherokee Heritage Museum – 73%, 5-star ratings on trip advisor.