New Jersey Devils: Dougie Hamilton Quietly Putting Together Historic Season

New Jersey Devils defenseman Dougie Hamilton (7): Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
New Jersey Devils defenseman Dougie Hamilton (7): Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports /

The New Jersey Devils went all in during the 2021 offseason. They gave a massive contract to defenseman Dougie Hamilton. Hamilton was an analytical darling who hadn’t found his perfect fit. There were issues in Boston to start his career, and he was eventually traded to Calgary. The Flames sent him to Carolina when the two sides made a massive deal including Noah Hanifin, Elias Lindholm, and the rights to Adam Fox.

The Hurricanes let him go to unrestricted free agency with an offer that didn’t show him much value. Reports say he was offered a long-term deal somewhere in the $6 million range. The Devils came over the top on July 28th with a $9 million deal for seven years.

Hamilton has been well worth the price less than two years into the deal. Outside of an injury that really derailed the second half of last season, Hamilton has been by far the best Devils defenseman. He’s leading the power play, putting up 20 power-play points. The Devils have 30 power-play goals this season. The Devils only have 10 PP goals where Hamilton didn’t record a point.

Hamilton is possibly having the greatest offensive season from a defenseman in team history. That’s a hard argument when the team has Scott Stevens and Scott Niedermayer in its history. However, Hamilton is close to on pace for the points record from a defender.

Stevens still holds the points record from his awesome 1993-94 season. There, he scored 78 points in 83 games. Right now, Hamilton is on pace for 77 points in 82 games. So, if he just ups his pace by one point, he will tie Stevens record.

Hamilton has 17 points in January and 14 points in December. Hamilton’s 46 points is fifth in the league amongst defensemen. Erik Karlsson is having one of the best seasons we’ve seen from a defender in years. Adam Fox, Josh Morrissey, and Rasmus Dahlin also have more points than Hamilton, but they’ve all played at least 100 more minutes this season.

Hamilton is also the secondary proprietor of offense for the Devils. His 176 shots on net are second amongst defensemen in the league. Only Roman Josi of the Nashville Predators has more. On the Devils, only Jack Hughes has more. The Devils want the offense to go through Hamilton, and that will lead to more opportunities for points.

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Hamilton leads all Devils with 20 first assists on the season. He knows where to put the puck, whether it’s on a traditional pass or a shot for a rebound. That game plan leads to more offensive opportunities. That will lead to Hamilton breaking Stevens record of 78 points. In fact, expect Hamilton to raise his point total a point per game.