Detroit Red Wings: Signing Dougie Hamilton is not happening

(James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports)
(James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Detroit Red Wings are working through the final touches of their roster as free agency unfolds. One of the bigger names to keep an eye on in free agency is defenseman Dougie Hamilton, an unrestricted free agent.

Hamilton is arguably the best defenseman on the free-agent market this offseason. After his past three years with the Carolina Hurricanes, Hamilton is poised to join a top pairing around the league wherever he ends up signing. Unfortunately, that place is unlikely to be the Detroit Red Wings organization.

Some people may forget, but the 28-year old Hamilton logged 47 games in 2019-20, and his 14 goals and 26 assists for 40 points, sending him to the Norris Trophy conversation. However, a leg fracture would put an end to his season, ending his run for Norris honors.

In 2020-21, he was able to get back out there and produce well once again with ten goals and 32 assists for 42 points over 55 games played. Once again, getting him a seat at the table for the Norris Trophy conversation, he fell short but had another stellar season.

The Detroit Red Wings signing Dougie Hamilton is unlikely.

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While adding a top-tier defender like Hamilton would be awesome, it’s doubtful, given the shape of this Red Wings team.

It’s just not in the cards for the Red Wings; it’s not the time where the team is looking to shell out money.

The team made a pre-draft trade for veteran Nick Leddy to anchor the left-side on the top, pairing with 2020-21 Red Wings scoring leader Filip Hronek.

The second pairing was filled out with the re-signing of Marc Staal, which happened recently. On the right side of the second pairing, the Red Wings could send Troy Stecher out there.

Or they might be letting their wrecking ball rookie, Moritz Seider, get his looks in on the second-pairing. Danny DeKeyser will be anchoring the third-pairing as of now, but it just seems like an investment like Hamilton is not on the table for the Red Wings.

With another top-prospect defender taken at sixth overall in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, the Red Wings are trying to breed their defense core from within. After going defense-heavy in early rounds with General Manager Steve Yzerman being in charge, one would expect signing defenseman to be less on the priority list.

Adding depth defenseman makes sense, but shelling out big money to Hamilton on a long-term contract is unlikely when the teams’ defense core is not making their way into the NHL yet; Seider is knocking on the door, but there are others expected to make a big future impact in the NHL.

The timing of this rebuild paired with the “expected” multi-year contract Hamilton would be given does not match up. He would more than likely end up starting to be on his downturn in skill sooner than later, meaning the Red Wings would be trending up while he’s fizzling out.

Do not get me wrong, Hamilton is an exceptional defenseman and still has plenty of time left to be a great defenseman in the NHL, but he is going to be 30 in two years, and the Red Wings should be approaching the end of the rebuild then.

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At that point, it’s better just to sign a big-name player than trying to get one now.