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In Brad Treliving’s biggest move to date as Flames GM, he acquired Dougie Hamilton from the Boston Bruins for magic beans (15th, 45th, 52nd overall) on draft day. A 22-year-old, 6-foot-6, top pairing defenseman with three seasons under his belt and coming off a 42-point season is considered highly valuable in today’s NHL and the trade was universally received as shockingly good value for the Flames. While Hamilton’s first season in Calgary cannot be categorized as smooth sailing the whole way through, there were a lot of things to like about Hamilton’s game and he looks like he will be a part of a bright future in Calgary.
The entire Flames team got off to a terrible start this season and unfortunately for Hamilton, he was one of the worst culprits. While it seemed as though everyone just expected him to step into a much less structured system in Calgary and thrive, it turned out he needed some time to adjust to his new team. With TJ Brodie being injured and missing the start of the season, Hamilton was immediately thrown into a top pair role alongside Mark Giordano who had not yet regained his all-star form after suffering a season ending injury last year. 9 games into the season, Hamilton’s stat line read 1 goal, 0 assists, and a -11. Far from an ideal start considering that the Flames did give up a lot to acquire him and he was actually the highest paid player on the team. The panic button was hit, people were calling him a bust, fans were coming up with trade proposals to get rid of Dougie, and his name started appearing in trade rumours from the media. It was all quite ridiculous really, considering the vast majority of defenseman have not made the NHL by age 22 and often traded players take awhile to adjust.
Turns out, the sky was not falling like many had proclaimed. Brodie returned, allowing Hamilton to be more sheltered and given time to adjust to his new team. He responded by putting up 39 points in the last 65 games of the season, which would have put him on pace for just under 50 points on the course of an 82 game season. He looked more confident both offensively and defensively, the Flames powerplay became much more effective once he started getting Wideman’s powerplay time and I think the general consensus is back to being that Hamilton was a savvy acquisition who will be a core part of the Flames’ future. Lets remember that he is just 23 and still has room to grow. The start of the season was terrible but he bounced back really well, so I’m giving Hamilton a B.
Dougie Hamilton was basically stolen from the Boston Bruins via trade and once he settled in with the Flames he showed why Calgary took a chance and made the deal. Hamilton produced a career high in points and he played in all 82 of the Flames games this season. His +/- was brutal at -14, but all in all I'd say his 1st season in Calgary was a success. His first 10 games were a tough stretch, but it must be remembered he came from a system in Boston where defenceman are valued more for the defence than their offense. The Flames system, I think, will be a much better fit for Hamilton's skill set in the long run. He's only 22 and he should be a very valuable cog with the Flames for years to come. This season was definitely a tale of two halves and even with a slow start, his second half was strong enough to earn him a solid B from this writer.
MattyFranchise - B
First of all, that was one heck of a trade. Now, down to brass tacks. Hamilton had a terrible start to the season. Everyone did, except for that guy whose name starts with G and ends with audreau. But once he settled in to the more physical conference and the completely new system at the tender age of 22 he showed why the trade was such a steal in the first place. He was given middle of the road zone starts at even strength (49.6%) and while he didn't exactly do the best defensively, (49.1% CF) he wasn't the worst either on the team either (+1.1% CFRel). The only really concerning thing about his game, by the numbers, is his abysmal Goals For Percentage, 44.6, compared to his team, -2.7%, but at this point it's worth reiterating that he's only 22. Neither Gio or Brodie were in the NHL at 22 years of age and they are arguably the best defensive pairing in the League today. He's got a long way to go but right now there's no reason to think he won't get there.
What really strikes me about him is his efficiency on the power play. As I judged Hudler before him, so shall I judge Hamilton. He's an offensive defenseman at this stage of his career, the numbers above illustrate that. On the PP, he scored 16 of his career high 43 points, including 5 goals. Dougie's 16 points ranks him 28th in the league for PP scoring, 14th for goals, and 32nd for assists. Out of potentially 210 regular players.
Long story short, he wasn't the best defensively but at this stage of his career I don't expect him to be. He scored a lot, reached career highs, and wasn't an absolute tire fire in his own zone. The opening month of the season really hurt him, as it did everyone, and for all of the reasons above, I give him a B.
Next season should be pretty damn great though.
While Hamilton defensively wasn't spectacular this season, he showed a steady progression and improvement during the season. Some early season critics had already been calling for him to be traded but it was important to remember that Hamilton (who just turned 23 on Friday) is still a very young defenseman and is very much in the development stage of his career. Hamilton showed a lot of upside with this Flames defense core, and will be a solid top pairing defenseman on this team well into the future. In 5 years or so, he could very easily be anchoring one of the top defensive pairings in the league with him and TJ Brodie.
Hamilton showed a lot of improvement this season which was important to see and that's all we can really hope for as a rebuilding team with a young core. Next season should involve even more development for him as he continues to get better and better for the Flames. That was a decent trade by Brad Treliving last summer I'd say. B
HockeyGoalieEh - C
Hamilton was the Flames prize prize possession that was supposed to help the team get to the next level. The results were rather mediocre. The good - nice point production, good special teams play, slightly above average Corsi. The bad - subpar xG, way too many penalties, lackluster defense. He was stuck with Kris Russell as his partner for most of the year and Bob Hartley as his coach, so hopefully those even strength numbers improve and he can look more like the top flight second pairing player that he's supposed to be.