Tiptoeing the line of cap overage, the Bruins were plagued by their inability to invest money into potential free agents, thus lacking the personnel to compete with the best teams in the league this season.
Everyone knows that.
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With only 15 players on the roster for next season, whoever is named as the Bruins’ next general manager will once again be strapped to the cap.
Despite the lack of flexibility, the Bruins need to lock up Dougie Hamilton for the foreseeable future.
Dougie’s Dominance Will Only Continue
Two words: Franchise. Defenseman.
His ice time has jumped by two minutes in each of the past two seasons, and he proved himself to be effective while going against the opposition’s best forwards. In the past, Hamilton seemed unable to handle the speed and skill of some of the better forwards. However, while playing on the first line with Zdeno Chara, he showed that he was more than capable of being stable and even exceedingly impressive defensively.
Hamilton’s offensive statistics have also sprouted, as he boasted 42 points in 72 this past campaign. Stats.hockeyanalysis.com breaks down his offensive development with this neat graph:
Hamilton’s entire game took another step in the right direction. He has seen more minutes because he has proven that he can outplay the opposition, earning the extra time because of his ability to make an impact on both ends of the ice. If we continue to see the same type of progression out of Hamilton, he has the potential to be a top defenseman in the league.
Hamilton has great vision, solid instincts, and always keeps his head up to find the open man. He has a phenomenal wrist shot from the point, and can quarterback a power play. Talent oozes throughout his 6’5″ frame, and Hamilton makes his teammates better while looking like a star himself. Still growing into his potential and only 21 years of age, Hamilton has all that it takes to be a difference maker night in and night out for the Black and Gold.
Wouldn’t He Be Expensive?
Well…yes. Yes, he would be.
However, I would much rather secure an enormous talent like Dougie Hamilton and perhaps overpay than risk him bolting for another team in the near future. Hamilton’s 42 points was good for 23rd in the league among defensemen, which ranked him with the likes of Niklas Kronwall, Kevin Shattenkirk, and Oliver Ekman-Larsson. The three of them are scheduled to make an average of 5.43 million dollars next season, which is where I’d expect Hamilton to wind up, when all is said and done in the negotiation process.
However expensive Hamilton is, he will be worth the investment. A defenseman with as much natural offensive ability as he possesses is rare at best, never mind how valuable he could be if he continues to fulfill his potential.
In 2011, when the Bruins finally captured their first Stanley Cup title in 36 years, they traded for Tomas Kaberle at the trade deadline. Kaberle gave them a puck moving defenseman who spaced out the ice by delivering slick passes. While Kaberle was rather ineffective, Hamilton serves the same purpose. He is a fourth offensive option, someone who opponents need to keep their eye on, while still proving effective in his own end.
Hamilton opens up the ice, creating additional time and space for his teammates, thus making them better. Having someone who is poised and intelligent on the back end, as well as someone whose long reach eliminates space for the opposition, is truly invaluable. Hamilton will become the number one defenseman when Zdeno Chara hangs up his skates.
Young, promising defenseman who have already shown that they can perform well at the NHL level do not grow on trees. The Bruins would be wise to re-sign Hamilton.
Cam Kerry is on Twitter. In addition to hockey, he knows that he can save money with Geico.