Photo Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

FlamesNation player evaluation: Dougie Hamilton

Dougie Hamilton, after setting a career high in points last year, set a new mark yet again. This time, he scored a career-high 17 goals, finding himself sharing the top spot for goals by a defenseman in 2017-18.

When Hamilton was on this ice, many good things happened for the Flames.

2017-18 season summary

Hamilton was one half of arguably one of the best defensive pairings in the league. Along Mark Giordano, the two of them led the NHL in 5v5 CF%, being the only two players to be above 57%. Include all situations and Hamilton was 60.42%, good for first in the league (Only his former teammate Torey Krug also had an all situations CF% north of 60). This was not surprising, as Hamilton saw much more special teams time on the powerplay (218 minutes) than the penalty kill (41 minutes).

Games played Goals Assists Points TOI/GP 5v5 CF% 5v5 CF% rel OZS% PDO
82 17 27 44 21:32 57.63 6.65 53.00 0.987

Many of the Flames’ forwards saw a boost in their possession numbers when playing with Hamilton. Among the regular forwards, not a single player was worse off with Hamilton versus without him. Hamilton was frequently played with the team’s top forwards, but was seen with Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan far more often than any other player.

On the other side of the ice, Hamilton was deployed against top forwards for much of the season, making his possession metrics all the more impressive.

At several points through the season, it felt like Hamilton was not on the ice when he should have been. There was the narrative that he spent too much time in the box. While it is true that he took the most minor penalties on the team, Hamilton also played the third most minutes, behind only Giordano and TJ Brodie. Taking that into account, there was likely some undeserved blame put onto Hamilton. In fact, Giordano had similar numbers in terms of penalties.

The real problem with Hamilton not being on the ice when he should have been was more about when the Flames were in need of offense and Gulutzan opted for someone else. In the games that went to overtime, Hamilton wasn’t trusted enough defensively to be played. Instead, Brodie skated in extra time far more often. This isn’t a knock on Brodie, but Hamilton could have played a large role in capturing the extra point given his prowess with possession.

The Flames are a better team when Hamilton is on the ice. That much is objectively true, and this season was no exception.

Compared to last season

Despite setting a career high with 50 points last season, it wasn’t unreasonable to expect that Hamilton would blow through that number by this season’s end. Unfortunately that didn’t happen. Hamilton had four more goals to his name and 10 fewer assists. It would have been nice to see him reach the scoresheet more often, but this season was no disappointment by any means.

Many of Hamilton’s performance metrics saw significant increases, suggesting he’s gotten better in his top pairing role. At 5v5, his CF increased 2.10%, SCF increased 2.50%, and HDCF increased a whopping 4.74%. Unfortunately, his PDO took a bit of a hit, as both shooting percentage and save percentage fell, dropping his PDO from 1.001 to 0.987.

A probable reason that Hamilton set a career high in goals was that he saw over a 30 minute increase in overall powerplay time. Six of his goals were scored on the powerplay, four more than last season. His powerplay goals per 60 shot up an entire goal’s worth from 0.65 to 1.65, but his assists dropped from 3.91 to 1.65. It’s not surprising that his overall powerplay numbers suffered given the atrocity that was the Flames powerplay.

All in all, there’s no red flags in Hamilton’s play. He oft tilted the ice in the Flames’ favour.

What about next season?

With Bill Peters taking over as head coach, perhaps next season will see Hamilton being played more often. After all, Peters happened to call the pairing “elite in many different areas.” While Hamilton probably won’t challenge Giordano in overall ice time, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him be used in more tough situations with the game on the line.

It may be too early to be this optimistic, but given proper usage and hopefully a team that isn’t as snakebitten as they were this season, Hamilton may yet post another career high (or several) somewhere along the way.

With a few uncertainties regarding next year’s possible roster, it would be entirely egregious to not have Hamilton be a part of it. Guns and Ships shall remain echoing through the Saddledome for the foreseeable future.

#5 – Mark Giordano #7 – TJ Brodie
#8 – Chris Stewart #10 – Kris Versteeg
#11 – Mikael Backlund #13 – Johnny Gaudreau
#15 – Tanner Glass #18 – Matt Stajan
#19 – Matthew Tkachuk #20 – Curtis Lazar
#21 – Garnet Hathaway #23 – Sean Monahan
#24 – Travis Hamonic #25 – Nick Shore
#26 – Michael Stone

  • BlueMoonNigel

    Hamilton thrived under Gully despite well-publicised criticism that Gully underutilized his young stud. Regardless of why Gully didn’t feel compelled to play Hamilton especially on first-pairing PP until the season was almost over, Gully was good for Hamilton’s game. Perhaps more than any other Flame, Hamilton’s game grew the most under Gully.

    Enter Billy Peters. I am not a Billy Peters and make no bones about it. While many here praised Peters’ passion and positivity during his first presser as the new bench boss, I couldn’t help but notice how badly he butchered the Queen’s English. Acceptable if English was his second language but it isn’t. In a nutshell, Peters sounds just like every other Alberta redneck I have heard and while it is wrong to naturally associate a person’s manner of speaking with his ability to perform a task, we make this assumption all the time. I don’t expect Peters’ communication style will be a turnoff for most Flame players, but I do think it might be very off putting to the highly-intelligent and deeply-sensitive Hamilton. With Gully, Hamilton had an intellectual equal who could articulate himself proficiently without peppering his speech with “know what I mean?” and profanity and petty insults. I hardly think that Hamilton will be able to engage in unending thoughtful discussions with Peters about Descartes and Hegel during long flights and countless airport layovers as he did with Gully.

    I am not advocating trading Hamilton, but if any top-end Flame suffers under Peters, my bet is it will be Hamilton as these two guys may very well be operating on two vastly different wavelengths.

    • FL?MES

      Thanks for starting the thread with such a weird post. We don’t know these guys at all and have no idea how the season will unfold. I’ve worked with and known a lot of these so called ‘red necks’ you talk about and most of them are stand up people who don’t seem to have motivational issues.

      • Dougiefred

        “We don’t know these guys and have no idea” would be nice if more people used this approach. Most stoop to “I know a guy, who knows a guy, who knows a guy” which then becomes a fact because it suits their narrative.

    • Off the wall

      Nigel, I don’t think your narrative this morning on Peters’ use of English makes any sense.

      Hamilton has matured over the last two years, perhaps that’s more indicative of his play than eloquent English.

      Your bias towards Red necks say more about you, then the premise of your thread.

      Speaking of deeply sensitive, perhaps you should sign up for ‘sensitivity training’ and learn how to commicate without prejudice?

      • BringtheFire 2.0

        “Speaking of deeply sensitive, perhaps you should sign up for ‘sensitivity training’ and learn how to communicate without prejudice?”

        I don’t understand. Everyone came to the defense of someone who made a rascist comment in the past-lookin’ at you, OTW-but this guy is taking all the heat for his discriminatory comment.

        Those are facts.

        Myself, if I were a writer here I would have deleted both comments immediately.

        But that’s just my.

    • rusty_shakleforde

      Ah, the cultural vanguard of elite snobbery has arrived. If you had to repeat every moment from your life in an eternal reoccurance, would you be so pretentious?

    • optimistic pessimist

      I am not a Billy Peters and make no bones about it.
      We rednecks are also fond of using nouns. Perhaps the true measure of the difference in communications styles will be how far Peters can throw a stick?

    • TriPPiNvdUb

      Mr. Moon, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

    • Rudy27

      What’s wrong with rednecks ( a term that originated due to the red necks of people working outdoors most of the time – farmers etc)? They are salt of the earth people, with a lot more common sense than most people. I’d put my faith behind a farmer or rancher over a politician or Bay Street financier any day.

    • Mitchell

      I’m not sure if you’re going for humour here, but it’s not even remotely funny. The last paragraph was the only necessary part of your comment. You should have referred people to read that section at the beginning. That way people wouldn’t have to read all the bs leading up to it.

    • buts

      They have been chartering a airplane for years BNM….there’s no airport layovers. Having said that if DH is such a stud how come he isn’t in the Norris trophy talk or selected to the WHC team? DH is a very good offensive D but I still say he’s soft, has no grit, takes dumb penalties and his “give a crap meter is stuck on OFF”. I still remember Lucic punching Smith and our biggest player on the ice who was Hamilton did absolutely nothing. Trade him while his stock is high because he is NOT a winner.

    • class1div1

      Well hell Blue Moon,I sure can’t figure what the hell you talking about.Now for starter’s i like Dougie,but have noticed since his time in Cowtown that he goes through 4 game spells where he takes lazy penalties.IMO those penalties are due to not being mentally prepared for games.Not sure how you equate that to high intelligence and sensitivity.Know what i mean Mr Articulater

  • BendingCorners

    On the night Brodie scored twice the Flames had a PP late in the game. On a whistle Hamilton overrode Gulultzan’s shift change and called Brodie back onto the ice then tried repeatedly to set him up for the hat trick. Celebrating success and pushing himself and his teammates for more – that’s Hamilton. Treliving’s best trade by far.

  • SgtRoadBlock

    Skin the Deer and move on, his return would get two 20 goal forwards +… this so call we have great D for years has not workout for us, or is it the 3rd Coach Fault when we fail again in R Zone next Season too?
    And don’t Blame the 11 goaltenders we have toss under the bus over that time 😉