Freddie Hamilton is probably better known for being Dougie Hamilton’s brother – and if we’re honest with ourselves, that’s probably a pretty big reason as to why the Flames acquired him in the first place.
But when all was said and done, F.Ham proved himself, at minimum, a capable AHL player. It’s unclear if there’s a brighter hockey future ahead for him – but at 24 years old, it’s certainly not out of the question. Even if this is it, though, what he is isn’t bad to have in regards to organizational depth.
Hamilton spent most of his season playing for the Stockton Heat in the AHL. With them, he posted 18 goals and 43 points over 62 games: third in Heat scoring, behind just Kenny Agostino and Derek Grant (who played substantially fewer games than the both of them). He also certainly never threw his shot away, leading the Heat with 194 of them through the season: just over three a game.
Hamilton particularly took off when he was partnered on a line with Agostino and Garnet Hathaway, as all three parties really started putting pucks on the net and points on the board when united.
Of all of the recalls throughout the season, he had one of his better NHL stints. While he only played four games for the Flames – all in late March, so they were more of the meaningless variety – he scored his second NHL goal (shorthanded!), and put up his first NHL assist – which, in a particularly nice moment, just so happened to be on his brother’s goal. Averaging 12:42 a game in the NHL was a new career high for him, as well.
Impact on team
Though he played his fourth professional season this year, Hamilton is actually still relatively young himself. He’s only a couple of months older than Agostino, the Heat’s leading scorer (albeit 14 points behind him). He matched his AHL career high set in the 2013-14 season of 43 points, though that year, he actually led the Worcester Sharks in scoring.
His stock as a prospect has since dropped – but his experience helped make him a leader on the Heat, and he even wore an ‘A’ at times throughout the season to reflect that.
Brandon Kisker, Stockton’s director of broadcasting and media relations, had this to say about Hamilton:
Great person and great player.
I thought if Turner Elson was our “Unsung Player of the Year”, Freddie would have been right there with him in a 1B situation.
He turned into our best faceoff man in Derek’s absence, carried the offense at times, and despite his calm and cool demeanor off the ice, he could play a bit gritty on it. I think he’s an extremely hard worker, well-liked by the fans, players and the staff, and someone I certainly hope is back within the organization or someone who finds a full time NHL gig.
I think he’s extremely modest about himself but I think more often than not he was one of our top three players all year long, certainly one of the most important.
Selfishly to note too, if he had not gotten that call-up, he’d have played in every game for the Heat, the only player to have even had the chance to do that this year. Was a durable and dependable player and I truly cannot say enough good things about him.
When he was initially called up to the NHL, Hamilton took over Agostino’s emergency roster spot. He had a relatively good stint playing in the big league: in addition to his two points, he was a 55.68% 5v5 CF player, second among every single Flame to dress for an NHL game in the 2015-16 season. He initially played in a fourth line role, but saw an upgrade in linemates over his final two games – from playing with Lance Bouma, Josh Jooris, and Garnet Hathaway to Sam Bennett, Joe Colborne, Johnny Gaudreau, and Sean Monahan.
What comes next?
Hamilton is a restricted free agent, and he’s one the Flames should consider keeping in the fold – not just on an AHL deal, but perhaps even an NHL one. He’s likely amenable to staying; after all, his younger brother plays in the same organization as him – and especially after combining for a goal together, he has just that little extra bit of motivation to make the Flames going for him.
At absolute worst, Hamilton looks like a player who can be a leader in the minors, and someone who can be called up in case of injury to fill in the NHL lineup. He has clear offensive instincts, and exhibits responsible enough play that it’s entirely possible a regular NHL spot could be in his future, albeit likely not as anything better than a depth player.