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M&G's Top 25 Under 25: #3 - Dougie Hamilton

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Our new hero comes in at #3

One day we will have a picture of him in a Flames jersey. One day.
One day we will have a picture of him in a Flames jersey. One day.
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Draft day- projected schedule (all times approximate):

5:00 PM: Turn on the television, watch Bettman ramble and get booed.

5:10 PM: Ponder the many ways the Oilers could screw up Connor McDavid and make him regret ever playing hockey.

6:30 PM: Watch the Flames make their #15 pick. Lightly applaud and think positive thoughts for him and his future. Maybe offer words of congratulations through the television.

6:45 PM: Drink warm glass of milk, retire to bed.

Draft day- actual schedule:

1:00 PM: They're saying the Flames are interested in Dougie Hamilton. I hope that happens.

1:10 PM: Wait that's actually happened? It's actually happening?!? Like right now?!?!?!?

1:20 PM: Only for PICKS??????????

1:30 PM: THE OILERS OFFERED A BETTER PACKAGE?????

1:31 PM to whenever Dougie retires (but probably even longer than that): HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

And that is how Dougie Day came to be. The day dedicated to the beginning of McDavid's decent into lunacy quickly turned into the Bruins' descent into ruin, all thanks to one savvy trade pulled off by Brad Treliving and co. The Flames walked in with defensive problems, and then immediately solved them by acquiring the #3 player on our Top 25 Under 25 countdown.

Rank Player DOB Draft 2014-15 Team Vote Total
3 Dougie Hamilton
06/17/93 9th overall, 2011 (Boston)
Boston Bruins (NHL)
163

History

Hamilton owes a lot of his success to his athletic bloodline, his mother being a team Canada Olympic basketball player and his father being an Olympic rower (also explains his behemoth 6'5", 212 pounds stature). He dominated early on, scoring nearly a point per game in his Midget AAA league. Already standing well over 6 feet at the time, his potential growth was the selling point for the Niagara IceDogs, who selected him with the 27th pick in the OHL Priority Draft.

His first year in the OHL was about what you would expect from a rookie. He played almost every game for the team, becoming a reliable depth player down the stretch and well into the IceDogs' early playoff defeat at the hands of the Ottawa 67's. Hamilton was also selected to Ontario's silver medal-winning team for the U17 World Hockey Challenge.

In his draft year, Hamilton exploded. He started putting up incredible production, falling just shy of a point-per-game in the regular season. He was arguably the catalyst for the IceDogs in the playoffs, taking them to the OHL semi-finals, bowing out to the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors in five games. During the playoffs, he eclipsed that point-per-game mark, coming sixth in defenceman PPG scoring. Adding to Hamilton's draft portfolio was his impressive Ivan Hlinka performance, helping Canada win gold.

Hamilton was originally Boston's steal in the first place, one of the assets traded to the Bruins for Phil Kessel (Tyler Seguin and Jared Knight being the other two). Ranked fourth by Central Scouting, Hamilton slipped to Boston at #9. The Bruins believed they had a franchise defender on their hands.

The Maple Leafs started to feel buyer's remorse after Hamilton's 2011-12 season. He was first in OHL defenceman scoring by 12 points, and third total in IceDogs scoring. His performances earned him a World Juniors appearance, scoring a point per game in a bronze medal finish for Canada. Once again, Hamilton was no slouch in the OHL playoffs, third in defenceman PPG scoring. The IceDogs pushed themselves to the limit, this time falling short in the OHL final against the London Knights.

The Bruins chose to call up their star prospect, and had planned on playing him had it not been for the lockout. Hamilton spent the first half of the season in the OHL. He was dominant in Major-Junior as per usual, but hiccuped in the WJC. It was a lackluster performance by Team Canada in general, but the Bruins still decided that he was worth a shot for 2012-13. After a few initial bumps in the NHL, Hamilton settled in nicely for the team. He instantly won over fans, who voted him in for NESN's "7th Player" award. Dougie also got some love in the Calder voting, finishing eleventh.

With a permanent spot on the Bruins' roster, Hamilton once again surged forward. He started smoothing over the rough areas of his game, but faced a setback due to an injury. His strongest play, as it has always been, was in the playoffs. He was tied for 16th in overall NHL defenceman playoff scoring, and second on the team behind Torey Krug.

Dougie stepped his game up for the Bruins in 2014-15, stepping in for an injured Zdeno Chara early in the season. The increased exposure meant business as usual to Hamilton, as he posted career bests in all categories. Even when relegated to the back end of the Boston defence, he performed admirably. The Bruins now had their defensive star. The guy who could seamlessly transition from Chara into the new era of legendary Boston defensive toughness. All that had to be resolved was a little contract matter.

The Bruins seemed dead set on keeping Hamilton around; any idea of letting him leave was laughable to anyone in the league. They were prepared to match any offer sheet to make sure Dougie remained a Bruin.

Something way above the level of "brainfart" happened on draft/Dougie day 2015 in the Bruins front office. After shipping away Carl Soderberg for a sixth round pick earlier in the week, they traded Dougie to the Flames for three picks all so they could re-sign Adam McQuaid. The justifications used were silly at best, but it meant nothing to the Flames, who signed him to a six-year, $5.75M AAV contract. Similar to what Boston offered him.

Stats

Strengths and weaknesses

Well he's a borderline elite defenceman that fits many organizational needs. Hamilton is a young, effective puck mover who can play well in both ends, and is a massive guy to boot. When he was signed, Mike took a look at his previous season confirming that Dougie is pretty much good at passing and just about everything else. Did I mention he's only 22 and can only get better?

So does Dougie have any weaknesses besides the fact that he makes petty anonymous GMs mad that they got ripped off (if you can call that a weakness)? Well he has been playing with possession god Patrice Bergeron for a long time, which has inflated his stats a bit. Reader DestroDertell wrote a piece on that subject, concluding that DH minus PB made Hamilton's possession numbers dip a bit, but not so much that he became useless.

The Flames don't necessarily have a Patrice Bergeron, but they have a Mikael Backlund and a Sean Monahan: good players who can drive possession. Hamilton's numbers won't be as high as they were in possession factory Beantown, but he will still carry this team from the possession tire fire where they reside.

Future role on the Flames

Well that's a tough one. He'll certainly be a top four player immediately, but who will be his defensive partner? Liam's discussed this before, but we still really don't have an answer. Brodano is nearly inseparable, and it's hard to imagine Hartley breaking up Kris Russell and Dennis Wideman after last year's production. That leaves us with Deryk Engelland, a mess that TJ Brodie couldn't even solve (are you there David Schlemko? It's me, Christian).

A bold yet functional option would be to breakup Brodano, and switch to a more lefty-righty friendly defensive corps. Giordano and Hamilton would complement each other, while Brodie and Wideman have seen some success in the past few years together. Russell and Engelland can be best blocking buddies and try to see how many they can rack up with 10 minutes of ice time per night. We're going to have to wait to see what Bob Hartley unveils in September; otherwise, it's all guess work.

Expectations for 2015-16

He will destroy all, unless he's playing with Engelland/Smid/whoever. Then he will be a waste and I will forcefully take Bob Hartley's Jack Adams Trophy from him.

Earlier on the list:

#25Ryan Culkin // #24Hunter Smith // #23 - Pavel Karnaukhov // #22Garnet Hathaway // #21Kenny Agostino// #20Mark Jankowski // #19Bill Arnold // #18Kenney Morrison // #17 - Andrew Mangiapane // T-#14 Mason McDonald // T-#14Brandon Hickey // T-#14 - Rasmus Andersson // #13Tyler Wotherspoon // #12 - Oliver Kylington // #11 - Morgan Klimchuk // #10 - Markus Granlund // #9 - Drew Shore // #8 - Joni Ortio // #7 - Micheal Ferland // #6 - Emile Poirier // #5 - Jon Gillies // #4 - Sam Bennett