This 2021-2022 NHL James Norris Trophy (Best Defenseman) Contender Has Upside

After signing a seven-year deal with the Devils, Dougie Hamilton will have the chance to make an instant difference in New Jersey

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  • This offseason, the New Jersey Devils signed prized free agent Dougie Hamilton (+1200, BetMGM) to a seven-year contract that will pay him $9 million annually.

  • As an above-average defensive player and elite offensive player, Hamilton will have the chance to put up the counting stats necessary to win this award.

  • He’s recorded double-digit goals in seven consecutive seasons and recorded 10 goals and 32 assists for 42 points in the abbreviated 55-game 2020-2021 campaign for the Carolina Hurricanes.

Huge Signing

Dougie Hamilton was one of the most highly-coveted free agents this offseason. 

He decided to take his talents to the New Jersey Devils, who signed him to a seven-year deal that will pay him $9 million annually. 

As a defenseman, Hamilton’s game is well-rounded and he’s an elite offensive player. He’s recorded double-digit goals in seven consecutive seasons and recorded 10 goals and 32 assists for 42 points in the abbreviated 55-game 2020-2021 campaign for the Carolina Hurricanes.

Therefore, he should be able to put up the counting stats necessary to win this award. 

Instant Impact

Alex Chauvancy of The Hockey Writers detailed how Hamilton will transform New Jersey’s power play.

“The Devils averaged 80.03 shot attempts (CF/60) and 5.33 expected goals per 60 minutes (xGF/60), both of which ranked in the bottom five of the league last season. They averaged 37.6 scoring chances and 13.04 high-danger chances per 60 minutes, both of which also ranked in the bottom five of the NHL.

“Meanwhile, the Carolina Hurricanes’ power play was a complete 180 from the Devils’ last season. They averaged the second-most CF/60 in the league and the sixth-most xGF/60. When it came to chances, they averaged the fourth-most SCF/60 and the sixth-most HDCF/60. It should come as no surprise that they converted on 25.6 percent of their power plays, good for second in the NHL. 

“And Hamilton played a big part in that success. The Hurricanes averaged 122.8 CF/60 with him on the ice on the power play last season. That ranked 13th-best among all skaters, and the only defenseman to have a higher rate than him was Cale Makar. Meanwhile, they averaged 8.3 xGF/60 with him on the ice, the fourth-best rate for a defenseman in 2020-21. 

“It was not just a one-year wonder for Hamilton, either. In his three seasons with the Hurricanes, they averaged 112.63 CF/60 with him on the ice, the fifth-best rate for a defenseman, while his xGF/60 of 7.82 ranked eight-best.”

If Hamilton can not only put up numbers, but have a transformative impact on his new team, he will be in consideration for this award at year’s end. At +1200, this is a smart bet to make.

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