Lately it seems like the NHL’s rumour mill has been spinning solely on Dougie Hamilton trade talk. With Calgary’s season going downhill and contenders around the league starting to emerge, teams may be looking to see what it’ll take to bring in Dougie Hamilton.
Earlier this month, Nick Kypreos reported that both the Arizona Coyotes and the Pittsburgh Penguins were interested in Hamilton. As of now, these are just rumours, and Kypreos did say he didn’t believe the Flames are looking to move Hamilton, but should they?
When it comes to a defenceman with as much potential as Dougie Hamilton, the simple answer is no, there’s too many reasons as to why the Flames shouldn’t send the up-and-comer packing.
Calgary Could Still Make the Playoffs
As bleak as Calgary’s season looks, it’s still very early on and as of now, teams with losing records in the Western Conference are still in playoff contention. With the Western Conference as bad has it has been, a few game winning streak could put the Flames back into contention.
The Flames came into the season as one of the favourites in Canada to make the playoffs, and their roster hasn’t changed since then. With the likes of Monahan, Gaudreau and Giordano, Calgary is still a good team on paper and could go from being a bottom-feeder to sitting in a playoff spot in a matter of games. If the Flames do make the playoffs this year, Hamilton would be key to Calgary’s success.
He’s Still One of Calgary’s Best Defencemen
Though his defensive game is often criticized, Dougie Hamilton is still undoubtedly one of Calgary’s best defencemen. Hamilton can be prone to mistakes in his own zone, but his offence does compensate for it.
On the offensive side of the game, 10 points in 22 games isn’t where he could be at, but it’s better than most of Calgary’s blue line so far. Hamilton is Calgary’s top right-handed defenceman, and with Dennis Wideman likely leaving the Flames when the season ends, Calgary would be left in a tough search for a new top-pair defender if he’s dealt.
They Wouldn’t Get Enough in Return
When Calgary traded for Dougie Hamilton in June of 2015, they gave up the 15th overall pick in the draft to Boston, as well as two second round picks. This is a steep price to pay for any player, so by giving up Hamilton, Calgary is only restarting their rebuilding process all over again.
On top of that, with Hamilton failing to play up to his potential, his value isn’t as high as it could be right now. A defenceman with Hamilton’s height, age and offensive ability could bring back a load of picks and prospects to Calgary, but they won’t get that by trading Hamilton while his play is just mediocre.
If Calgary does decide to go with a temporary rebuild again, Dougie Hamilton is not the player to move. Hamilton is only 23-years old, and his contract only expires in 2021. Dennis Wideman, for instance, is 33-years old and is in the last year of his contract, which makes him a perfect trade piece if Calgary’s season does go south.
Hamilton’s contract, however, takes him through the prime of his career, and with key pieces such as Monahan, Gaudreau and Giordano signed on through the same period, Calgary will have the ability to keep a core group for a long period of time.
If Calgary is going to throw away their season, they shouldn’t throw away their future as well. Hamilton being dealt would set the Flames back into a whole new rebuild process and would be one of the worst moves to make.
Ben is a journalism student at Ryerson University and covers the Toronto Maple Leafs.