Photo Credit: Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports
The Calgary Flames have signed 22-year-old bluechip defenseman Dougie Hamilton to a six-year contract worth a reported $34.5 million. The contract will carry an annual average value of $5.75 million.
It’s a steal of a contract for a young, 6-foot-5, two-way defender who has produced first-pairing results throughout the first three seasons of his NHL career, and is only scratching at the surface of what he might accomplish in the NHL.
What will really grind the gears of Boston Bruins fans, surely, is how reasonable this contract looks. In the wake of an earth shattering deal, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney described Hamilton’s demands as significant.
“We extended Dougie a very significant contract offer,” Sweeney said during a pre-draft availability on Friday. “And it didn’t lead us to where we thought we’d be able to with him being comfortable being part of our group long-term. That sort of changed the course a little bit.”
Whether Hamilton really was taking a harder line with the Bruins than he took to the Flames or not – and it sure seems as if the Bruins offered Hamilton something close to the deal he signed, according to Darren Dreger – this is an eminently reasonable contract. It’s far less than the $6.5 million plus that the likes of Alex Pietrangelo, Erik Karlsson and Drew Doughty signed for following their entry-level contracts – and fair enough, since they were more productive and impactful earlier in their careers.
The comparable players would appear to be Arizona Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Nick Leddy (though Leddy signed a bridge contract following the expiry of his ELC), both of whom are locked up long-term to deals that carry a $5.5 million annual average value.
Hamilton is now tied with Matt Niskanen, Andrei Markov and Tobias Enstrom as the 15th highest paid defenseman in hockey (based on annual average value). He’ll be 16th or 17th once Mark Giordano and Brent Seabrook sign their new deals at some point over the next 12 months…
The deal also moves the Flames up to being about an average spending NHL club for the first time in a while and the team’s payroll is going to go an awful lot higher over the next couple of years. With Giordano, Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau all signed to deals that are expiring after next season, and Sam Bennett expiring the year after, the Flames will very probably have to get creative if they hope to keep this elite group of young talent together.
Let’s file that under ‘great problems to have’ though.