Dougie Hamilton – Canada
This one comes with some… complications. The Athletic’s predictions call Dougie Hamilton “always controversial”. This narrative seems to be entirely media driven, but the first-year New Jersey Devil is looking to prove he deserves the contract he got as one of the best defensemen in the NHL. If he plays like a $9 million player, it will be impossible for Canada to leave him off the roster.
If Hamilton comes in as a leader for the Devils, Team Canada would love to have him on the roster. We’ve addressed how Hamilton can change the narrative before. The right-handed defenseman could come to the Devils and lead a young roster to new heights. That would make the narrative surrounding Hamilton turn to his on-ice play. Maybe he just needed the right situation. It seemed like he avoided the drama while he was in Carolina. It could be as simple as growing up, or it could be that he found a situation where he fit and grew as a player thanks to it.
Hamilton is years removed from the Boston Bruins trading him away to the Calgary Flames. When the Flames traded Hamilton to the Hurricanes, it was considered a huge deal involving former top-five pick Noah Hanifin. Now, he’s a star defenseman considered by some as one of the best in the league.
He will have a crazy amount of competition on Team Canada. Cale Makar, Alex Pietrangelo, and Aaron Ekblad all play the right side for the red and white. However, if Hamilton proves he is what the Devils think he is, it will be impossible to keep him off this roster.