Carolina Hurricanes: What value does Dougie Hamilton have?

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - JANUARY 03: Dougie Hamilton #19 of the Carolina Hurricanes celebrates his goal with teammates on the bench in the second period against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on January 03, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - JANUARY 03: Dougie Hamilton #19 of the Carolina Hurricanes celebrates his goal with teammates on the bench in the second period against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on January 03, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Fans of the Carolina Hurricanes were taken aback on Saturday as renowned trade rumormonger Elliotte Friedman stated that the Canes may consider moving Dougie Hamilton. But what value does Hamilton have if Don Waddell was to consider trading him?

With the Carolina Hurricanes enjoying a four-game win streak – the team’s first since the opening week of the season – now seems like an odd time to be discussing the Canes selling off one of their best players. That is exactly what we’re doing however, as Saturday’s comments by Elliotte Friedman now have Canes fans wondering whether now is the time to make the most of Dougie Hamilton‘s value on the trade market.

Let’s remind ourselves of what Friedman said during the Headlines segment of Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday night:

"“[A] name I’m curious about is Dougie Hamilton. They have four right-shot defencemen, they’ve been asked about Hamilton. If you’re willing to come back to them with a score I think that they would consider doing it.”"

Friedman also discussed the Canes’ stance on Micheal Ferland, with whom contract talks are apparently far apart. When we looked at the contract extensions the Carolina Hurricanes need to secure for next season, we suggested that the Canes not re-sign captain Justin Williams, and instead give his $4.5m per season to Ferland. One of three things is happening there – either Waddell wants to keep Williams, he’s not willing to give Ferland that much, or Ferland wants more. We’ll delve deeper into that another time.

For now, we look at Dougie Hamilton, who yesterday became the first Carolina Hurricanes defenseman to score goals in three consecutive games since Anton Babchuk in 2008. Which is absurd. So should the Canes look to flip Hamilton now, while he’s hot?

Initial cost

Dougie Hamilton came to the Carolina Hurricanes in the now-infamous Noah Hanifin / Elias Lindholm trade in which two young, popular Canes stars were traded for a guy who supposedly has difficulty in integrating with team mates. Micheal Ferland came with him in that deal, and had an instant impact on the team, but it is only now that we are beginning to see Dougie Hamilton’s talent shine through.

Adam Fox was the wildcard addition in that deal; if the Canes were to sign Fox, then a Hamilton trade becomes more likely. However, with no word at all from Don Waddell on the chances of Fox signing with the team, we must assume that Fox won’t be on the Canes’ roster next season.

The deal with the Flames came down to Hamilton having the most value, with Hanifin and Lindholm next, and the combination of Ferland and Fox making up the value for the Canes. So the Canes paid a pretty price to acquire Dougie.

Has his value gone up or down?

This is the billion dollar question. If you’d asked me a week ago, I’d have said Dougie Hamilton’s trade value had fallen significantly. Three goals and seven assists, in 38 games, was a very poor return on our investment.

Now though, on the back of three goals in three games, I’d say Hamilton’s profile in Raleigh has never been higher. He’s still playing third-pairing minutes – just 13:31 last night, and more than 20 minutes just once in his last eight games – but he’s looking re-invigorated post-Christmas break.

This is a risky business. If we wait, Hamilton’s play could falter and we’d be looking at a poor return in any trade; if his play continues as it has over the last few games, then we could look to fetch even more in return. This all depends on how much of a gambling man Don Waddell is, and I’m not sure Canes fans have a good enough handle on the GM’s propensity to take risks yet.

Consider also this very interesting tidbit, hidden as it was within yesterday’s game recap by Michael Smith:

"“I injured myself at the start of November, and that kind of hampered me,” he said. “It’s starting to feel better, and that’s helping. It’s nice to see it go in.”"

If Dougie Hamilton played two months injured, and is now recovered and playing like he ought, then keeping him is surely the right thing to do.

How much could Dougie Hamilton fetch?

There are two ways you can go about trading Dougie Hamilton. You could look for a good old-fashioned hockey trade – swapping him for a proven scorer – or flip him for younger players, projects like Nikolay Goldobin or Jesse Puljujarvi, and add a prospect and a pick or two. The issue with a good old-fashioned hockey trade is that some GMs are afraid of losing a one-for-one trade and as such, they’re an unfamiliar sight these days.

The most value would likely be had in a package deal. Right-hand shot defensemen are a rare breed in today’s NHL, particularly good ones like Dougie, and so a team like Winnipeg might send a package of Mathieu Perreault + picks for Hamilton. Likewise, you could see a team like Vegas using its assets to send the Canes a package that would help both parties, or even the San Jose Sharks, as they have loaded up for a Cup run. There is no question that to a challenging team, Dougie Hamilton has great value. The question is whether or not the Carolina Hurricanes should consider moving him.

The price to acquire Hamilton should be set at either a proven top six forward, or a combination of young NHL player + 1st round pick + prospect. Nothing less will do.

dark. Next. Five bold predictions for the Canes in 2019

With the Carolina Hurricanes currently winning games, and Dougie Hamilton back healthy, scoring goals and playing well, it makes zero sense to trade him unless the package coming back includes an established top six forward plus either picks or prospects.

If Hamilton has finally found his groove – all three of his goals in the last week have been even-strength ones – then the positive impact he’ll have on this team is like acquiring a new player ahead of the trade deadline. The fact he may have been playing injured for some time also shows that we should keep him, just to see how much more he has to give.

Let’s keep Hamilton and see whether we can continue to close the gap on the Canadiens, Sabres, Islanders and Blue Jackets.