#2: Dougie Hamilton
Team: Calgary Flames
Drafted: 2011 #9 (Round 1, Boston Bruins)
Last Year: #4
It has been a long, ridiculous battle, but Dougie Hamilton is finally receiving the respect he has deserved from pundits. He is a very good, top-pairing defenseman, who has elite offensive capabilities and is not as bad at defence as people like to suggest.
Playing with Mark Giordano from mid-November until the team was eliminated from the playoffs, Hamilton and Giordano formed one of the very best pairings in the entire NHL. While taking on tough matchups, they had terrific possession stats and constantly outscored the competition. He finished the season with a 55% Corsi For and a 6.9% CorsiRel. Those are tremendous numbers, it is hard to ask for a player to do much better than that.
He gets his points too. Despite not even receiving first unit powerplay minutes and playing third pair minutes for the first month of the season, he still managed to have a career high 50 points. If he is better utilized on the powerplay, it would not be unrealistic to wager that he could knock on the door of the 60 point plateau. He has the capabilities and the Flames have a boatload of offensively skilled players for him to work with, the team should give him the opportunity to let loose to an even greater degree.
Dougie Hamilton represents terrific value to the Calgary Flames. Acquired for only 3 draft picks (crazy, when you consider that the vastly inferior Adam Larsson cost the Oilers a top line left-winger in Taylor Hall), Hamilton is making a very team friendly $5.85 million per season for the next 4 seasons. That is a very reasonable rate to pay for a top pair defender that posts elite possession and productivity statistics and is only 24. He is just hitting his prime, so there may be greater things to come from young Douglas.
He will probably never get love for the Norris trophy because a lot of the old school media seem to dislike him for reasons unknown, plus he plays in Calgary. Hell, good old Mark Spector tried to say in a piece in December that he was a 5th defenseman... when all the evidence said something very different. But, anybody that watches him regularly with an unbiased view will see that he is an impact player with unreal offensive instincts and is competent in his own end.
Although he has not won 3 Stanley Cups so he is not anywhere near as good as Duncan Keith.
Duncan Keith has two Norris, a Conn Smythe and 3 Cups, Hamilton has nothing, Keith is a bigger "star". Done.— Dustin Nielson (@nielsonTSN1260) July 16, 2017
He could stand to improve his defensive game a bit and work on mitigating some of the stick infraction penalties that he took a little too often last season, but Dougie is probably going to be the Flames’ top defender for years to come. That is exciting and that is why he is #2 on our Top 25 Under 25.
Being a meme lord does not hurt either.