Carolina Hurricanes: Anticipating Dougie Hamilton’s Next Contract

COLUMBUS, OH - JANUARY 16: Dougie Hamilton #19 of the Carolina Hurricanes and Nathan Gerbe #24 of the Columbus Blue Jackets battle for control of the puck during the game on January 16, 2020 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
COLUMBUS, OH - JANUARY 16: Dougie Hamilton #19 of the Carolina Hurricanes and Nathan Gerbe #24 of the Columbus Blue Jackets battle for control of the puck during the game on January 16, 2020 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /
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The Carolina Hurricanes need to start looking at Hamilton’s contract

With Dougie Hamilton‘s current contract set to expire following the 2020 season, what should fans expect for a contract for the Carolina Hurricanes’ elite blueliner?

Dougie Hamilton was on track for the best season of his career when his season was thought to be ended with a broken left fibula suffered in a game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on January 16th. Fortunately, he was able to return in the playoffs after the cancellation of the regular season and will be healthy for the 2020 season.

It’s hard to understate how valuable Hamilton is to the Carolina Hurricanes. He anchors the fantastic defensive core that the Canes are well known for, and despite the tremendous performances by players like Jaccob Slavin and Hadyn Fleury, the Canes just weren’t the same without Hamilton.

Although General Manager Don Waddell has stated that he believes Dougie Hamilton wants to stay in Carolina, valuable contracts prove to a player that the team values him and without such a contract there is little incentive to stay. What kind of contract can fans expect Dougie Hamilton to receive?

Covid-19 didn’t only transform the 2019 season, it has altered the landscape of the NHL. Waddell attested to this in regards to Dougie Hamilton’s contract when he said “It’s a matter of finding what’s the value for a player pre-COVID and now post-COVID with the revenue and salary cap being where they are.”

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The tweet above shows the contract for Vegas Golden Knights’ defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, an 8.8 million for seven years contract. Sara Civ, the Athletic author for the Hurricanes, noted that “obviously this one sets a tone for a certain defenseman”, meaning that Waddell is most definitely going to recognize this contract as a precedent for Hamilton.

The first issue every NHL team faces is the salary cap, and the Hurricanes are in the midst of salary cap issues of their own. Currently, the Canes have $5,082,261 in cap space. I fully expect the Hurricanes to sign both RFA’s, forward Warren Foegele and defenseman Haydn Fleury before the end of the arbitration period.

What does a flat cap mean for the Hurricanes? Possibly not as much as other teams. As Sara Civian speculated in her article for The Athletic (paywall), the team will most likely largely be the same for the 2020 season. So far that statement has proven true, except for a few free-agent signings most notably headlined by former New York Ranger Jesper Fast.

I have no doubt the value that the Carolina Hurricanes organization places in Dougie Hamilton is extremely high; however, for sake of comparison let’s look at the specifics of Alex Pietrangelo 2019 season. He played 70 games and acquired 52 points with 16 goals and 36 assists. Hamilton only played 47 games due to injury but acquired 40 points with 14 goals and 26 assists.

The question here is not whether Hamilton is worthy of a similar contract; however, it is clear that based on the numbers his value as a blueliner for the Hurricanes is not contested. In addition to his playmaking abilities on the ice, Hamilton is valuable for the team because of his leadership role among the many young blueliners that fill the Hurricanes’ depth.

If Waddell values Hamilton as much as he should, he shouldn’t take for granted that Hamilton wants to stay with the team. Waddell should pay Dougie Hamilton a similar contract to ensure that Hamilton stays and is valued.

Question for CC Readers: Where should the Carolina Hurricanes keep Hamilton’s contract?

Next. Exploring Potential Trade Options in the Offseason. dark