NHL

The Devils are getting their money’s worth from Dougie Hamilton

The Devils are getting their money’s worth from Dougie Hamilton

Last offseason, Tom Fitzgerald made one of the biggest splashes of free agency by acquiring Dougie Hamilton, whose contract was previously up in Carolina. Unlike this past offseason, where the top free agent target wanted to go elsewhere (do you think he’s happy to go to Columbus right now?), Dougie happy signed here for 7 years at $9 million per year. It’s an expensive contact, but one he clearly deserved, and if he had played at the level he did in Carolina before hitting the market, it would have been worth it.

Last season, however, there were some issues that prevented him from truly living up to the $9 million hit. The main reason was injury: He missed 20 games last year, playing in just 62. And while on the ice, he didn’t score at the clip he did the previous two years with the Canes: finished with 30 points in 62 games, while the previous year he had scored 42 points in 55 games, and before that he scored 40 points in 47 games. Of course, it wasn’t a horrible year for him. He was still leading all regular Devils defenders in Corsi, had an xGF% over 51%, and still took 197 shots in those 62 games, with more than 3 shots per game, a strong number. The Devils of New Jersey He needed points from his defenders, and while he only finished with 30, it wasn’t for lack of effort getting the puck to the net. So while it wasn’t a bad year, he was very positive for the team when he was playing, it really wasn’t a year worthy of the high price tag.

This year, however, it was absolutely worth every penny. Check out some of his per-60 rate stats compared to all defensemen in the league with at least 100 5v5 minutes (195 qualified), thanks to Natural Stats Trick:

He has been an absolute beast in terms of Corsi and expected goals. He ranks second among all D-men in helping his team produce Corsi Per events when he’s on the ice, behind only teammate Damon Severson. However, he ranks 10th in the NHL in Corsi Contra events per 60, while Severson ranks 18th. And his expected goals numbers, both for and against, are at the top of the line, similar to what helps make the team high-danger. And all this while having a slightly red PDO, so it’s not like he’s got crazy luck. Also not listed there, he has an offensive zone faceoff percentage of 57.33%, which while high, still ranks him just 41st on this list of NHL defensemen, and behind Brendan Smith and Damon Severson on the team.

And in what matters most to an offensive defenseman, points, Dougie is on point this year. He has 11 points in 14 games, which put him on pace for 64 points in a full season. That would be a massive number, a career high for him by far, and would surely give the Devils the points they need from the blue line to continue to compete and win games. And he’s doing it both on the power play and on the force. 5 of his 11 points are on the power play, with a big assist the other night against Ottawa in overtime to win the game, along with another goal and 3 assists, two of them primary. He’s giving the Devils a true power play quarterback on the top unit, and they use him as such, as he leads the team in PP TOI.

But again, he’s not sacrificing defense to get it, as mentioned above, he still ranks first on the team in CA/60 and third in xGA/60. Teams have trouble putting attempts on net when Dougie is on the ice, which is a big thing for the Devils. And it’s not like they’re pushing him towards those numbers. Dougie is paired with Jonas Siegenthaler. When the two are together, who has been in 193 minutes at 5v5, have an incredible CF% of 62.04%. However, when they are separated, Dougie’s CF% jumps to 67.90%, while Siegenthaler’s drops to 55.93%. He is the one who brings Jonas in terms of possession, not the other way around. This also translates into expected goals as when together their xGF % is at 66.28% but when apart Dougie is at 65.40% while Jonas is at 61.64%. All indicate that Dougie is not being carried by his partner to such strong numbers.

And of course, perhaps the most important part of that $9 million is the ability to hang on and win games at the right time, and nothing showed that more than the shot that led to Thursday’s goal at night to win it against Ottawa. A slick wrister through traffic, deflecting off Nico’s stick, was exactly what the team needed at the time, and he made it happen with a tight pass from Jack. Those are the plays you pay someone like him for, and if he gets enough of them this year, there’s no doubt this team is going places.

In the end, it feels good when a big free agent contract pays off. Often times, we see these contracts become dead weight and the teams that give them quickly regret it. However, with Dougie, at least for now, that contract is paying dividends, and he’s making this team that much better with his play on the ice this season. Let’s hope this continues and the Devils keep winning games.



#Devils #moneys #worth #Dougie #Hamilton

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button