Carolina Hurricanes: The Absence of Dougie Hamilton is Huge

The Carolina Hurricanes suffered a huge blow when Dougie Hamilton injured his leg. How much are the Hurricanes missing their star defenseman?

Dougie Hamilton proved his worth this season for the Carolina Hurricanes and not just in the offensive side of his game. He showed just how valuable he is in terms of his defense and as well as on special teams. He was having a Norris Trophy caliber season.

This recent stretch of games for the Hurricanes have just amplified how much Hamilton means to this team.

The most obvious that is missed from Hamilton is his offensive production from the blue line. He was well on his way to having the best season offensively in his career. In 47 games this season, Hamilton collected 40 points with 14 goals and 26 assists. In his career best season, which he played in 81 games, he had 50 points with 13 goals and 37 assists.

The biggest change in his offensive game was how effective he was on the first power play unit. And as you have seen in recent games, the Hurricanes first power play unit has faltered. It isn’t as powerful as it was with Hamilton at the point. Hamilton had the slap shot that you have to watch out for, but also had a great ability to pass the puck as well.

On the power play, Hamilton had two goals and 10 assists. Those two goals are the only goals by a defenseman on the power play this season and he has three assists more than the next defenseman on the power play (Jake Gardiner).

In addition to being missed on the power play, he is also missed on the penalty kill. He wanted to take on the responsibility of being on the penalty kill this season and he more than rose to the occasion. Hamilton showed that he is one of the best defenseman on the team to kill penalties, if not the best. Hamilton and Jaccob Slavin together was solid for the Hurricanes and now that they can’t use that pairing, the penalty kill has taken a hit.

His defense has also proved to be very valuable to the team. The Hurricanes defense hasn’t been the same since he was lost to injury. There isn’t any continuity on the back-end. The cohesion isn’t there anymore.

You see the lack of effectiveness by the defense and this doesn’t take away from the players. Slavin has taken a hit because he is being paired with different defenseman, including Trevor van Riemsdyk, which I can’t comprehend. Haydn Fleury, who has been one of the Hurricanes, better defenseman is stuck playing Joel Edmundson.

I like Edmundson, but he hasn’t been playing the same hockey as the beginning of the season.

There was always Hamilton and Slavin at the top and the other two pairs had some movement. It wasn’t crazy movement as most of the time it was switching Fleury and van Riemsdyk in and out of the lineup.

The most important aspect in this is the loss of Hamilton’s presence in the locker room. The known locker room cancer has been anything but that in Carolina. He has taken the younger players under his wing and his been a great veteran presence for this team.

He fit in with this group of guys and it has benefitted not just him, but the team as a whole. Hamilton is an important part of the Carolina Hurricanes and he has been missed.

Question for CC Readers: Where has Dougie Hamilton’s absence been felt the most at?