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Calling On Dougie Hamilton

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Teams are being permitted by Carolina to talk to Dougie Hamilton’s agent. Let’s talk turkey and kick some tires.

Tampa Bay Lightning v Carolina Hurricanes - Game Five
The Carolina Hurricanes are letting Dougie Hamilton’s agent permission to speak with potential suitors prior to free agency.
Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Edmonton’s offseason checklist is a fair sized one. Most notably, they could really use a left wing who can play in the top six, and they ought to look at bringing in another goaltender. Defence is sort of up in the air at this point, they’ll need to replace Dmitry Kulikov if he doesn’t sign, and they’ll need to address what to do should Oscar Klefbom not be able to return to the lineup at all.

As far as the right side, I would have predicted that it would be all square. I don’t see Tyson Barrie coming back without at least first testing the market. If we’re reading the tea leaves, I think the Oilers are about to extend Adam Larsson, and Ethan Bear is a surefire lock for the top four. I’ve got Evan Bouchard playing full time in 2021-22, and that’s where I’ve let it lie, at least until today.

Dougie Hamilton has permission to talk to other NHL teams? Yeah, go for it.

I don’t think for a minute that Ken Holland is in on this, but I think it’d be a missed opportunity if he didn’t at least take advantage of this opportunity and speak to Hamilton’s agent about numbers and term. Dougie Hamilton is about to become an unrestricted free agent prior to next month’s free agency period, and it would be a huge coup for the Oilers if they could improve their blue line with Hamilton.

WHY HAMILTON?

In a sentence: Dougie Hamilton would make the Oilers’ defence instantly better by leaps and bounds. It’s a no brainer if it can happen.

Dougie Hamilton is about to become an unrestricted free agent. Hamilton will be turning 28 in a couple of days, and will likely be looking for a giant UFA payday. Normally, this is where I’d suggest that a club ought to be careful when signing a player on day one or two of free agency, but defencemen are a little bit different than splashing the pot on a power forward with 800 games played.

It’s also going worth noting that Hamilton is going to be expensive. How expensive? Like, “what-Oilers-media-are-saying-Darnell-Nurse-will-get-on-his-next-deal expensive”. Like, “buyout James Neal yesterday” expensive. It’s going to cost some coin, even with a flat cap expected for at least the next three years. The good end of that is that if you’re investing in Dougie Hamitlon, you’re immediately getting your top pair right defenceman. If it’s on a lengthy deal, you’ll get him for a lot of years.

Hamilton averaged 22:43 in ice time this season, a mere five seconds less than teammate Brett Pesce. Hamilton was paired with Jaccob Slavin nearly 90% of the time at 5 on 5, they absolutely tilted the ice in the right direction when they were out there. The Hamilton / Slavin pair posted a robust 56% CF, when Slavin was away from Hamilton, that number dipped to 48%. Hamilton is a talented offensive player (he finished with 42 points in 55 games this year), but just as important as him being competent with the puck, he’s also a valuable player on defence. Carolina finished tied with Boston for fourth overall in goals allowed per game (2.39), they finished eighth in shots allowed averaging 28.2.

MONEY TALKS

If you buyout James Neal and you let Adam Larsson walk, presto, you now have eight million dollars. It’s like magic. Signing Hamilton makes Larsson expendable. Buying out James Neal creates almost four million dollars in cap space. Letting Larsson walk creates just over four million dollars in cap space. Look at that, we printed eight million dollars in three sentences.

GETTING HAMILTON ON BOARD

I’m not sure of Hamilton’s desire to come to Edmonton, but if it’s greater than ‘0’, I’d explore a sign-and-trade scenario with the Hurricanes. If the money and term works out, I think this could be a big moment for the Oilers. A good moment, not like trading Taylor Hall, or signing Milan Lucic kind of moment. Heck, maybe they’d like Tyson Barrie’s rights in return. I kid, sort of.

Edmonton’s window to win should be right now, and Hamilton makes the defense complete in one move. A first rounder at 19th overall in a tricky draft year is likely at least 2 or 3 years away from making an impact.

The Hurricanes might think they can move on from this player without taking a major hit to their overall bottom line. Maybe this is just Carolina checking the temperature on where Hamilton’s agent is at, they could fall back and make an offer.

All that is fine. Ken Holland can make some heads turn this offseason and instantly improve his roster by making a couple of phone calls to Hamilton’s agent to see where they’re at.

Ain’t no harm in lookin’.