Another busy week of NHL action has come and gone, as we’ve seen some incredible things happen both on and off the ice. With that said, it hasn’t been all good for some teams, as they’re facing some adversity in the postseason. In this piece, we have NHL news from the free agency realm. This, of course, includes the fact that one prominent defenseman (Dougie Hamilton) has made a decision. As always, at Vegas Betting, we have the latest news.
Dougie Hamilton to test free agency
Unfortunately for the Carolina Hurricanes, the defenseman wants to exploreall of his options. Consider that the Hurricanes were among the favorites for most of the season going into the playoffs. The decision makes sense when one considers Hamilton is approaching the most important decision of his hockey life.
There was some rumored speculation that Dougie Hamilton was going to do this regardless. He expects to be the most sought after free-agent in the UFA market come later next month. For those wondering, NHL Free Agency starts on July 28th at Noon EDT.
Several layers exist with this story. One of the biggest aspects that the Carolina Hurricanes took a pre-emptive move of sorts here. Carolina understood that Hamilton was going to do this regardless and then decided on the following.
This part of the interview where Friedman announced this causes a pause on the show. Maybe, that was a coincidence, but it certainly did on social media. There will be more on that below.
From those who follow Dougie Hamilton, one could sense that this was coming. Again, this is not all about money. Yes, the defenseman expects to get paid. He will as well given the marketplace. This is even despite the flat salary cap of $81.5 million. The 2021 NHL playoffs saw him tally five points in 11 games while leading all players with 55 shots on goal. Teams got an 11 game snippet of what the blueliner could do on a bigger stage. Needless to say, his play spoke volumes and probably enticed even more teams.
The blueliner just by the numbers…
The hype train for Hamilton keeps surging. Again, free agency starts on July 28th. That is still around six weeks away. Now, the simple numbers for the defenseman are staggering enough. Teams seem to be tripping all over themselves just to say they are interested.
Furthermore, there are more advanced numbers as well. Take a look at what Hamilton has done over the past few seasons below.
Dougie Hamilton possesses the ability to improve a team’s power play and drive play in the right direction. The blueliner scored ten or more goals now for the last seven seasons. That is a high number from a defenseman. His analytics register even better relative to his teammates. Team relative percentages are 4.5% above the average. That is no small number. Maybe Hamilton is that one piece on the path to NHL Stanley Cup glory.
Also, there is that puck-moving aspect. Hamilton’s speed and acceleration have been well-documented. The NHL is all about keeping things moving. That is the priority. The 27-year old approaches the most crucial stage of his hockey life in the best position imaginable.
It did not even take 24 hours for teams, media, and fans to gush over the prospect of acquiring and signing the defenseman. This feels like the “flavor of the month” sentiment but really it is not. It is a fateful decision but that will not stop the speculation. If anything, this will only fuel rumors and innuendo.
Some more numbers with Dougie Hamilton
There is another aspect of this story to keep in mind. The Carolina Hurricanes permitted Hamilton to talk to other teams as a matter of good faith. This allows Hamilton to seek an eight-year deal from other teams. The maximum term the defenseman could get is seven years if he signs with another team. Now, with permission, Hamilton can seek a sign-then-trade option.
Basically, there is this to consider as well. This comes straight from Dougie Hamilton.
His agent is J.P. Barry. That means Hamilton is not going to come cheap. Last year, Hamilton got $5.75 million in the final year of his deal (CapFriendly). Rumors abound as to what he might be paid come July 28th or so. Again, that eighth year on a contract is an important bargaining chip of sorts. Carolina still has to be considered as an option as well. Even if they do not have the cap space, until Hamilton signs with another team, the possibility exists.
Again, journalists, fans, and even some teams expressed interest on Monday when the news came out. It all plays into the process and this is a different era in free agency. With the prospect of a flat salary cap for the next several years, players have to become creative as well. Negotiations will just be different now as compared to before the pandemic.
This becomes the new reality with free agency. Expect to see some new wrinkles as well this summer. Keep in mind, the “frenzy” starts on July 28th. The NHL targets a start date of October 12th for the start of the 2021-22 season. Time starts to tick faster as a semblance of normalcy kicks in. The key word is semblance. Dougie Hamilton’s free-agent courtship will be anything but.
The defenseman expects to get at least $8-$9 million AAV on the open market. Who knows what the final number will be? What is certain is that Hamilton will get paid somewhere.
Chris Wassel is a skilled scribe who possesses a fervor for both sports and entertainment. Boasting a journalism background and over two decades of experience, he has crafted pieces that encompass a diverse array of sports including hockey, basketball, football, and others. His writing is characterized by its lucidity and sharpness, and provides a unique viewpoint on entertainment and political matters. While Chris primarily focuses on sports writing, he also writes about a wide range of subjects.