In an out-of-nowhere move, the Calgary Flames have acquired defenceman Dougie Hamilton.
In what seemingly came out of nowhere – not that he was traded, but the destination – Dougie Hamilton is now a member of the Calgary Flames. It was a couple of tweets by guys like Ryan Rishaug, Bob McKenzie, and Elliott Friedman, and five minutes later, the trade call tweets were coming in. After rumours of Arizona or Edmonton all day long, it was the Flames that ended up pulling off the deal to land one of the NHL’s best young defencemen.
The return was a first round pick this year and a pair of second round picks, all this year, according to the Bruins official Twitter account. That first round pick is 15th overall.
Hamilton is a pending restricted free agent, but obviously Calgary doesn’t make this trade unless there is an understanding about signing a long-term deal with the team. With Mark Giordano a free agent in a year, this feels like a bit of an insurance move (like Soderberg to Colorado but way more impactful). Giordano is rumoured to be asking for P.K. Subban money (at least in AAV), which is what he’s probably worth, but he’s also going into his Age 32 season. Should the Flames not be able to re-sign Giordano (they do have a lot of cap space), they have their cornerstone defenceman of the future in the fold.
With Tyler Seguin gone a couple of years ago, the two primary pieces that were drafted using the picks in the Phil Kessel trade are no longer in Boston. It’s kind of ironic that with Boston now looking to the future, they have traded two of the best at their respective positions for their age.
For fantasy, I’m not sure how much this helps Hamilton. Giordano and T.J. Brodie have formed one of the most formidable defensive pairings in the NHL, right up there with the likes of Doughty/Muzzin. I assume they don’t break up that top pairing next year, which slots Hamilton into the second pairing. I mention this because I think that means he doesn’t take a leap to 24-25 minutes next year. Maybe it stays around 21-22.
His ice time is important because adding 200-300 minutes is an easy way to add a half-dozen points. Obviously that’s important for fantasy. If he doesn’t get those extra minutes, maybe he doesn’t rack up more than 45 points next year. That’s still a very good mark but maybe he doesn’t take that 50+ point leap next year that may have been available to him if he stayed in Boston.
Another reason I worry about Calgary is that they had the second-highest shooting percentage at five-on-five in the NHL last year. In the recent past, we’ve seen teams like Toronto, and even good teams like Pittsburgh, take a dive in the shooting department. It’s not unlikely that Calgary stays in the top-5 (Colorado has, Toronto was close before caving this year), but I’m not convinced they’re an elite scoring team. Boston wasn’t good in this regard either, but I don’t think he’s going to a team that will clearly have better scoring totals next year.
All in all, I would see the status quo in fantasy for Hamilton unless he gets a bump in ice time. If he can post 45 points, 200 shots, and 50 penalty minutes, he’s about a top-20 defenceman. For right now, I’m not going much higher than that.
As a side note: this is terrible for Tuukka Rask’s fantasy value. I doubt Chara returns to form, and Hamilton was Boston’s best defenceman. I’m not sure Rask is a top-5 goalie in drafts this year anymore. Boston will not be as good defensively as they were even last year (for now, at least).
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