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The plot to acquire Dougie Hamilton

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Dougie Hamilton is a restricted free agent this summer. Some say the up-and-coming superstar defenseman is just what the Oilers need. Others say the Oilers won't be able to compete against other teams in the bidding war. And others say the Bruins will do anything to lock Hamilton down to avoid another Seguin-style fiasco.

Dougie Hamilton might be the highest priced RFA this July at the age of 21.
Dougie Hamilton might be the highest priced RFA this July at the age of 21.
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

(Article written with files from @OilFanInYYC. And by "files" I mean all the intelligent stuff.)

Teach me how to Dougie

Hamilton Hit on Jeff Skinner

Man, the Oilers blueline is thin. If only there were a 6’5", 212 pound defenseman who averages a point per 60 minutes and was an RFA this summer. OH WAIT A MINUTE…

There have been renewed whisperings around Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli possibly, maybe, hopefully, throwing the idea around of approaching Bruins’ RFA defenseman Dougie Hamilton with an offer sheet. Should that happen, there is a good chance that on July 1st, Dougie Hamilton will be the highest paid free agent of the day.

Not only would Hamilton provide some desperately needed fireworks on the blueline, but you also get the added drama of former Bruins GM Chiarelli taking his toys with him on his way out of Boston. Sour grapes can taste soooo good. It was Chiarelli himself, after all, who called Dougie Hamilton’s name 9th overall at the 2011 draft. He is certainly well studied in the finer points of Dougie Hamilton and has hung the future on him before.

Yup, Hamilton sure would be nice. Unfortunately he’s probably too far out of reach for the Oilers for two reasons.

The first reason comes from the Bruins camp, such as Ty Anderson at hockeybuzz.com, who says the Bruins will do anything to match an offer made to Hamilton. The Boston Bruins are in the midst of some head scratching as they figure out their cap space issues, with both Milan Lucic and Zdeno Chara trending downward but commanding large paycheques of 7 million per year respectively.

Nevertheless, says Anderson, look for the Bruins to find a way to build their future around Dougie Hamilton, rather than let him go to pay their veterans. Let’s also not forget, the Bruins are also desperate to lock down Hamilton for fear of going through a second Seguin-like embarrassment. The Bruins camp says they won’t, or can’t, move Chara, Lucic, or Rask, but you can expect them to clear house with other complementary players in order to build around guys like Hamilton. A short term bridge deal, similar to the one P.K. Subban got, would work well for both camps.

That’s one theory.

The other thinking on the subject is that the Bruins are pretty much screwed when it comes to cap space and they don’t have that kind of flexibility to retain Hamilton. To reach the minimum number of roster players the Bruins need to sign four players. A team can only go 10% over the salary cap during the off season and, according to www.generalfanager.com,  even if they were able to sign three of those players at league minimum ($550K) that would still cost them $1.65M. That only leaves $3.15M to sign Hamilton.

If a team really wants Hamilton, they will have to give Boston a first round, second, round, and third round pick in compensation, which puts Hamilton in the $5.4-$7.3 million salary range. That’s something Hamilton’s agents are banking on. (See @OilFanInYYC’s terrific article on how offer sheets work here). Someone is going to offer Dougie Hamilton what he’s looking for and the Bruins hands are tied.

Unfortunately, hate to break it to you, there are other teams in the NHL with more money and more cap space to make that offer to Hamilton than the Oilers. To land a guy like Hamilton, it would depend on Chiarelli’s ability to trade for him with picks and prospects. So, OK fine, there’s a chance. But there’s some high rollers out there.

Is Dougie Hamilton the new Shea Weber?

No, not in this case.

You might recall the game the Philadelphia Flyers played with the Nashville Predators in July 2012. Weber agreed to a gobsmacking 14 year, 110 million over 14 years. Sure, the Predators kept Weber, but at the time it was seen as a shrewd punch to the gut by the Flyers.

That was a different scenario though. There, Nashville was already paying Weber $7.5 million and within their cap space. The deal just left the Predators hamstrung. In this case, the Bruins are already at their cap ceiling and don’t have the luxury of money to barter with.

How good is Dougie Hamilton anyway?

Hamilton Goal

So he’s good. But Is he P.K. Subban or Kris Letang good? It’s looking that way, yeah.

Yahoo’s Puck Daddy ran Dougie Hamilton through war-on-ice.com’s Similarity Scores. At the ripe age of 21, he’s averaging over a point per 60 minutes. His Relative Corsi For percentage is a hearty 4.72, the same ballpark as Subban and Letang when they were the same age. That’s also not to mention he’s 6’5" and 212 lbs, and swings around the ice like a wrecking ball. So pretty much a dream defenseman.

Naturally, since he’s putting up the same big numbers, he’s asking for the same big money. Word is he’s gunning for Lucic-Chara kind of money estimated around $6.5 million.

It sure is hard to walk away from a guy like that.