There’s no denying that Dougie Hamilton is off to a shaky start in his second season as a Flame. After merely a year and a half since being acquired from the Boston Bruins, Hamilton has found his name circulating around the rumour mill and chatter of a possible trade has arisen.
Hushing those type of rumours isn’t easy with Hamilton’s struggles becoming apparent, along with the Flames’ struggles of their own. But when it’s all said and done, would the Flames actually go through with dealing their talented defenseman so soon after acquiring him?
It’s no secret that Hamilton has yet to live up to expectations in Calgary. It was expected of him to build off the solid foundation he laid for his career in Boston and become a premier defenseman in the league. Hamilton was supposed to help T.J. Brodie and Mark Giordano eat up some serious minutes on the backend and round out a really solid top four for the Flames. Brodie and Giordano are getting top minutes, but Dougie Hamilton’s ice time is starting to decrease more and more – at least until very recently, that is.
Improving Hamilton’s ice time could jumpstart his game. Playing with Giordano on the top pairing is good for it, but he’s not seeing the ice enough to play out of his struggles.
The Flames’ bottom pairing guys are eating up minutes that could go to Hamilton and provide him with more opportunity to succeed. That’s not to say that Deryk England and Dennis Wideman don’t deserve solid minutes, but they could each take a handful of minutes off their plates to be distributed to Hamilton.
Providing Hamilton with some more opportunity would help both the Flames and him going forward. Even if the Flames are inclined to move Hamilton, they’ll have to improve his workload to get his stock up. The Flames aren’t going to trade him when his stock is low, and that’s where it’s at right now.
As the Flames creep up on the 20-game mark, Hamilton has six points in 19 games and is on pace for 26 points, which would be his lowest since the 2013-14 campaign. Things aren’t looking too bright for him and the six-year, $34.5 million contract he signed last summer is only going to magnify his on-ice issues.
Now does this necessarily mean the Flames should give up on Hamilton and trade him? What would the Flames even get in return? The Flames shouldn’t heavily consider any deal. Unless they get an offer that blows them out of the water, there really isn’t a valid reason to ship off Hamilton.
When watching Hamilton, you can get mixed reviews. His game against the Rangers back on Nov. 12 was a night to forget for the defenseman. Hamilton was on for three even strength goals against while playing a minimal 14:39 minutes of ice time. Nights like those, you will see a lost defenseman that needs to brush up on hockey IQ 101 in the defensive zone.
But when he’s on his game and he’s quarterbacking the power play and moving the puck well, he’s a dangerous player and there’s no denying that.
Dougie Hamilton has looked like a premier defenceman ever since he started getting treated like a premier defenceman a few games ago.
— Christmas Roatis (@CRoatis) November 19, 2016
The reality is, the only player the Calgary Flames should be seeking in a trade for Dougie Hamilton, is Dougie Hamilton. What could possibly justify giving away a 6’6 offensively gifted 23 year-old defenseman that already has two 40-point NHL seasons to his name? He’s one of a kind; an equal return would be nearly impossible to find.
Flipping Hamilton for a pair of picks and prospects isn’t going to do much for the Flames. It’d be a step back. After losing Johnny Gaudreau to injury for the next six weeks, the Flames don’t want to throw their season in the garbage; they still have a chance to make a run at the playoffs. A Hamilton trade would throw a wrench in that plan entirely and set the team further back.
When the going gets tough with young defenseman, do you simply give up? Hamilton has so much more to give and if the Flames could increase his minutes and provide him with more opportunity, a Hamilton trade wouldn’t even cross the minds of the Flames brass.
Calgary could use some more blueline help as it stands now, and with that being said, a Hamilton trade is even more questionable.