1st Star: Dougie Hamilton
Does this really surprise anyone? Short of Jack Edwards, I don’t think anyone would find this pick controversial. With Justin Faulk gone, Dougie Hamilton became the Carolina Hurricanes’ top offensive defenseman. How has he done?
Hamilton has ingratiated himself with the Hurricanes’ fanbase, his indie movie-worthy friendship with Andrei Svechnikov putting the icing on the cake. An 18 goal performance in 2018-19 showed that Hamilton was capable of running the offensive from the blueline. A September 2019 trade paved the way for him to prove it.
So far, so good.
Leading the team in power-play ice time, Hamilton hasn’t disappointed, putting up a goal and three assists so far. More than just quantity, his first power-play goal of the season was a game-tying goal against Tampa Bay in a game that the Hurricanes eventually won in overtime. Hamilton has also been a model of consistency early on, recording at least a point in seven of the Hurricanes’ nine games.
Beyond the flashy offensive numbers, Hamilton has been steady defensively as well. His ten blocked shots place him fourth on the team and he sits fifth on the team in hits with ten. In terms of plus/minus (yes, some of you loathe that stat, but here we are), Hamilton leads the team with a +8. He’s been driving the play effectively at both ends while leading the team in ice time per game (23:28).
I won’t gloss over the fact that having a defense corps that includes a wealth of talent affords Hamilton the opportunity to thrive. Without the other guys on the blueline, he would bear a heavier burden and his stats would undoubtedly suffer.
That said, Hamilton isn’t wasting this opportunity. He has been very good and very consistent and, without his performance, the Hurricanes wouldn’t be as dangerous or as successful as they have been.
To celebrate his hot start, here is the “Celebratory Hamilton Floss”: