Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Dougie Hamilton Autographed Card

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As expected, Dougie Hamilton cashed in as the major piece available in free agency today, signing a seven-year, $63M deal (worth $9M per) with the... New Jersey Devils, who now have two offensively-minded right-shot defensemen making over $9M, with P.K. Subban already in the fold.

The Devils will be Hamilton's fourth NHL team, after being drafted by the Boston Bruins (9th overall in 2011) - then-coached by Claude Julien, who has a tendency to have his GMs get rid of the good, young talent on his rosters, a fate Tyler Seguin and Phil Kessel also shared during his stint in Beantown - then traded to the Calgary Flames in a large deal only to be dealt to the Carolina Hurricanes in a blockbuster move after three seasons in the C Of Red. That's four teams that recognize his all-world talent at creating offense, three of which didn't think was enough to convince them to keep him. We know Julien views raw talent as "uncoachable", but what of the other two teams?

For starters, the Flames sent the Canes Hamilton, a promising prospect in Adam Fox (this year's Norris Trophy winner) and middle-six grinder Micheal Ferland for stop-four defender Noah Hanifin and first-line winger Elias Lindholm, which in retrospect may seem lopsided but did fill two immediate needs for them with Fox being a project that could have not ended up working - and in fact did not become who he is now with the team he was traded to.

As for Carolina, they are entitled to think that Hamilton's underlying elite possession numbers were at least partly the result of playing alongside Jaccob Slavin, perhaps the league's best shut-down defenseman - and that could very well be true, too, but Hamilton surely had his say in that as well. I'm not saying I would have paid him that much money (he's overpaid by $1.5M in this economic context mixed with a flat cap, in my opinion), but I would bet on him being my top-pair right-shot defender for the next five years and would have been willing to tack on two extra years just to make sure I get him, yes.

The Hurricanes seem intent on giving the impression that they will low-ball everyone on their team not named Rod Brind'Amour, from waiting until Sebastian Aho signed an offer sheet elsewhere a couple of summers ago to letting go their only good goalie of the past decade this summer after squabbling over half a million with Alex Nedeljkovic and now lettin gHamilton walk for nothingafter a failed postseason run. They're deep enough on defense that they may not feel it as much, though, and they're probably betting they already have his replacement in Jake Gardiner, who has been relwegated to a lesser role since signing with the team as a free agent ahead of the 2019-20 season.

The Devils will be Hamilton's third consecutive red uniform, and here is what he looked like in one of the many Hurricanes home garbs, on card #436 from the 2019-20 O-Pee-Chee collection by Upper Deck:
You'll notice a sharp difference between this blue-sharpied signature and the one I featured last January; it's the sign of a player becoming confident in his star status mixed with the autograph requester being an overweight, out of shape, bearded man in his late thirties/early forties, so the player's not even trying to scribble his name anymore and thinks it'll stop me from making a profit off the sale of the card. Except I don't sell the cards I put up here (bur he doesn't know that).

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