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Game #53 – Flames vs. Hawks Spotlight: Teach Them How To Get Dougie A Norris

If you’re number-y like we are, then you’ll come to realize that over the past two seasons, you’d be hard pressed to find a better d-man in the West than Dougie Hamilton. In fact, you could make an argument he’s been better than anyone else, even Erik Karlsson.

Over the past two years, no d-man has a better relative Corsi mark or relative expected goals percentage than Dougie Hamilton. And it would be easy to chalk that up to playing with Mark Giordano, himself deserving of Norris consideration for a long time now.

However, it’s Giordano who suffers more without Hamilton than the other way around. Last year they spent nearly 300 minutes apart. In that time, Hamilton was still a 51 CF% player. Giordano was 47%. Together they’re 56%. This year they’re at 58%, though Giordano is doing better in the odd shifts without Dougie this time around. Still, as you can see they’ve been utterly dominant together, and without them this Flames team would probably have already moved to Quebec and no one would have really cared.

What makes the Hamilton-Giordano pairing is it’s not the usual puck mover/center fielder dynamic that most teams go to. They’re kind of the same guy. Both can really skate, both like to get up the ice, and both can get back and recover themselves when they have to. They’re both all over the ice, which you’d think would leave them really open but they both are mobile enough to recover. Which makes you wonder if this isn’t how pairings will be constructed going forward, as Ryan Lambert went over yesterday on Puck Daddy talking about the Leafs.

Thanks to Giordano, it’s unlikely that Hamilton will get too much consideration. It’s the dreaded “split-vote” phenomena. One will take votes from the other, and everyone will vote for Drew Doughty just because Kings fans keep bitching. But whatever you ask of a d-man, Hamilton is doing it as well or better than everyone. It should be him and Hampus Lindholm. It will be Subban (which is fine) and Klingberg because their leading their teams in scoring.

Which makes you wonder why teams seem intent on trading him. As we all know, Boston didn’t want to sign him and shipped him off to Calgary for three draft picks, none of which have made it up yet to The Hub. Sure, the Bruins look to have recovered by there still doesn’t seem to be a Chara-succession plan and Hamilton would have been a big part of that. And the Brandon Carlo dream will end one day. Earlier this season and over the summer there were rumors flying that the Flames were looking to move him along as well. He must be a raging asshole or something.

Somehow, Hamilton is only 24 and with Giordano looking this spry the Flames look to be set for a long while at the back. If they can somehow get the plague that Travis Hamonic has become and cure T.J. Brodie, they’ll be even better off. It’s an expensive top three though, clocking in at a combined $17 million combined. This might be the reason the Flames thought about moving Dougie along. They don’t have anyone to pay yet this summer except for Mikael Backlund, but if underlying numbers are used in contract negotiations then he’s getting a raise from his $3.5 million. It’s the summer after that that could be worrisome, when Ferland and Tkachuk are up. The Flames need a rising cap, for sure. Though they’ll probably just cry poor thanks to their arena and try to use that to get the city of Calgary to pay for a new one.

Either way, whatever the Flames do this spring is probably going to be on the back of Dougie, whether they want him or not.

 

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