Dougie Hamilton’s next contract among big looming decisions for Hurricanes

Dougie Hamilton's next contract just one of big decisions for Hurricanes
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While the Carolina Hurricanes haven’t begun contract extension negotiations with star defenseman Dougie Hamilton, GM Don Waddell indicates that it’s a priority for the organization.

“We’re getting close to talking about it,” Waddell said on Thursday, according to’s Tom Gulitti. “Dougie’s not back here, yet. He’s still up in Toronto. He’s coming back here I think at the end of the week. … He is a UFA at the end of the year, so we’d like to get that one done sooner than later. That one, you would have doubts if you play out the season, so it makes sense to try to get something done before the start of the season.”

Hamilton’s reputation could grow with a strong contract year

It’s interesting that Waddell mentions that it might be better to hash out a contract extension with Hamilton, 27, before the 2020-21 season begins.

While there are pandemic-related reasons why both sides might want some cost certainty, being proactive could be wise. Frankly, the Hurricanes might be better off signing Hamilton now — while at least some in the hockey world are still unsure about his talent — rather than risking a value-boosting season.

After all, Hamilton had a decent shot at at least being a Norris Trophy finalist before getting injured in 2019-20. (All things considered, finishing seventh is impressive.)

When it comes to certain high-scoring defensemen, mainstream voters sometimes need time to realize their value. Recall, for instance, how Shea Theodore only recently went from an analytics darling to a more widely praised blueliner.

In the case of Hamilton, some gravitate toward silly narratives. There were rumblings about being afraid of contact with Alex Ovechkin during a series the Hurricanes ultimately won during the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Following being traded from the Flames, there were goofy murmurs about Hamilton opting for museums over bro time.

For some, Hamilton’s brilliance has only been recently realized. Interestingly, the underlying numbers indicate that Hamilton’s really just been this good for a long time, and the Flames maybe shouldn’t have traded him. Consider his strong 2019-20 by Evolving Hockey’s RAPM charts, versus an even stronger outlook stretching back to his Flames’ days.

So, yeah … another season could mean a year where Hamilton wins a Norris Trophy. You can imagine how that would drive Hamilton’s asking price through the roof.

Could Hamilton get the term he likely craves?

Beyond discussing the pros of being proactive with a Dougie Hamilton extension, Waddell also commented on the flat salary cap. In doing so, Waddell nudged toward the possibility of keeping Hamilton’s term from being too lengthy.

“You’ve got a flat cap for the next two years, we know that,” Waddell said. “We also know that the market’s changed. I’m not saying we’re not going to do a long-term deal, but the long-term deals, if you look at free agency, you’ve only got a few guys that got more than three years in the whole market. … So I think the market has changed and it should change because of the situation we’re all in.”

On one hand, it’s true that the market is challenging. On the other hand, defensemen seemed to be the only free agents who really commanded term.

Alex Pietrangelo received the sort of mega-deal Taylor Hall likely wanted. While it’s easier to compute Pietrangelo and Krug getting serious term, it’s telling that teams handed term even to lesser defensemen. If Christopher Tanev, Dylan DeMelo, Joel Edmundson, and others receive significant term, why wouldn’t Hamilton?

Still, it’s smart that the Hurricanes at least want to nudge the conversation to something more manageable. Just about everyone pictures Hamilton getting a big raise from his bargain $5.75 million cap hit, but Carolina could limit risks by giving him bigger money and smaller term.

Being that Hamilton’s already been traded twice in his productive career, he’ll likely seek security in whatever his next contract looks like.

Dougie Hamilton contract extension talks Hurricanes Ovechkin chirping
(Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)

Hamilton contract extension just one of Hurricanes’ key upcoming decisions

Again, it’s smart that a somewhat cost-conscious franchise like the Hurricanes is at least trying to nudge the conversation away from giving Hamilton term.

One way or another, the franchise faces some big forks in the road.

Along with Hamilton entering a contract year, Andrei Svechnikov‘s entry-level deal will expire after 2020-21. As mentioned before, Svechnikov is a rising star whose stature is only likely to grow. Read up here for an in-depth argument on the Hurricanes extending Svechnikov as soon as possible.

(For what it’s worth, Waddell also told Gulitti that he hopes to extend Svechnikov. Eventually.)

Even beyond figuring out what’s next for two stars, the Hurricanes perpetual goalie questions also demand answers. Both James Reimer (32, $3.4M) and Petr Mrazek (28, $3.125M) enter contract years for 2020-21.

Will the Hurricanes make their first truly major goalie splurge since being burned by the Scott Darling contract? Maybe after next season. (Frankly, it was a tad bit disappointing that Carolina didn’t dip into the robust goalie market this go around. Oh well.)

Not every looming deadline warrants spooky music, mind you. Chance are, the Hurricanes will either upgrade in net, or at least not spend more than $6.5M on a “meh” duo. And similarly “meh” money will come off the books, what with Ryan Dzingel ($3.375M) and the ghost of Alexander Semin’s buyout ($2.233M) set to expire after 2020-21.

Can the Hurricanes strike the right notes with Hamilton, Svechnikov, goalies, and other decisions? Finding the right answers could make the difference between continuing this run of close-but-no-cigar versus finally breaking through.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Sharks goalie James Reimer declines to wear Pride jersey

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San Jose Sharks goalie James Reimer didn’t take part in pregame warmups, saying the team’s decision to wear Pride-themed jerseys in support of the LGBTQ community runs counter to his religious beliefs.

Reimer said in a statement Saturday that he made the decision based on his Christian beliefs, adding that he “always strived to treat everyone with respect” and that members of the LGBTQ community should be welcome in hockey.

“In this specific instance, I am choosing not to endorse something that is counter to my personal convictions, which are based on the Bible, the highest authority in life,” Reimer said.

Reimer is the second NHL player this season to refuse to take part in warmups with Pride-themed jerseys, with Philadelphia’s Ivan Provorov declining to in January. Reimer was not slated to start in Saturday night’s home game against the New York Islanders, which is Pride night.

Additionally, the New York Rangers opted not to wear Pride jerseys or use Pride stick tape as part of their night in January despite previously advertising that plan.

The Sharks said in a statement that they are proud to host Pride Night, saying the event reinforces the team’s commitment to inclusiveness.

“As we promote these standards, we also acknowledge and accept the rights of individuals to express themselves, including how or whether they choose to express their beliefs, regardless of the cause or topic,” the team said in a statement. “As an organization, we will not waver in our support of the LGBTQIA+ community and continue to encourage others to engage in active allyship.”

The You Can Play Project, which works to promote inclusiveness in sports, said the organization was disappointed in Reimer’s actions.

“Religion and respect are not in conflict with each other, and we are certainly disappointed when religion is used as a reason to not support our community,” the organization said. “Wearing pride jerseys, like any celebration jersey worn, is not about the personal feelings of an athlete; rather the communication from the team that a community is welcome in the arena and the sport.”

Panarin, Shesterkin lead Rangers to 6-0 rout of Penguins

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NEW YORK — Mika Zibanejad had a goal and two assists, Artemi Panarin scored twice and Igor Shesterkin made 33 saves as the New York Rangers routed Pittsburgh 6-0 on Saturday night for their second win over the Penguins in three days.

Vladimir Tarasenko, Chris Kreider and Jacob Trouba also scored for the surging Rangers, who have won nine of their last 11 home games and are 12-4-0 in their past 16 at Madison Square Garden.

Shesterkin won his fifth straight and posted his second shutout this season. He nimbly denied Pittsburgh forward Mikael Granland with a sprawling save five minutes into the third period to preserve the shutout, the 10th of his career. His other one this season was a 1-0 home win over Philadelphia on Nov. 1.

“When you put in hard and honest work, miracles happen,” Shesterkin said through a translator. ”We played wonderfully today – scored many, many goals. Honestly, I hope the fans loved it. We’re playing for them.”

The Penguins lost their third straight and trail the Rangers by 12 points for third place in the Metropolitan Division. Pittsburgh, still in wild-card position, is trying to reach the playoffs for the 17th straight time.

“Tonight was a humbling experience for all of us,” coach Mike Sullivan said. ”At this time of year, you have to have a short memory. We still have control of our destiny.”

Patrick Kane and defenseman K’Andre Miller also had two assists apiece as New York improved to 7-1-1 in its last nine home games against Pittsburgh. The Rangers are five points behind the second-place New Jersey Devils, who lost at Florida on Saturday.

“This was a big game for our goalie and our team,” Panarin said. “If you work at playing the right way, you have opportunities for goals.”

Since Dec. 5, when they turned around their season with a 6-4 comeback win at home over St. Louis, the Rangers are 29-9-5.

As he did on Thursday when the Rangers beat the Penguins 4-2, Zibanejad opened the scoring. He got his team-leading 36th goal at 5:10 of the first, beating Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry. Trouba and Miller assisted.

Panarin made it 2-0 at 19:49 on the power play, whipping the puck past Jarry from the left circle off a pass from Adam Fox.

Tarasenko increased the lead at 3:54 of the second with his fifth goal since joining the Rangers in a trade with St. Louis on Feb. 9. Tarasenko has points in 10 of his first 18 games with the Rangers.

Kreider made it 4-0 at 6:43 with his 31st goal and third in two games against the Penguins. Kane and Vincent Trocheck assisted on Kreider’s 260th career goal, which moved the Rangers forward within two of Vic Hadfield for fifth place on the franchise list.

New York won Thursday when Kreider scored the go-ahead goal in the third and added an empty-netter.

After Casey DeSmith replaced Jarry in net following Kreider’s goal, Trouba beat the replacement with a sharp-angle shot at 8:39 for his eighth to increase the margin to 5-0. Trouba has points in six of his last eight games.

Panarin scored again at 16:38 of the second – his 22nd goal of the season – to make it 6-0, with assists to Kane and Filip Chytil.

“We’re building chemistry, building every day and every game,” Kane said.

Panarin has points in eight of his last 10 games and leads the Rangers with 77 points overall, while Kane has seven points in his last six games.

“It’s nice to see that many great players on your team,” added Panarin, whose first two NHL seasons were played alongside Kane with the Chicago Blackhawks. “We’re happy tonight.”

Zibanejad assisted on goals by Tarasenko and Trouba and has 25 points – including 14 goals – over his last 20 games.

“It was just one of those nights when the puck goes in for us,” Zibanejad said. “And obviously Igor gives us a boost making all those saves.”

NOTES: The Penguins were missing defenseman Jeff Petry after he was hit with an unpenalized elbow from Rangers forward Tyler Motte on Thursday. … Pittsburgh also scratched defenseman Jan Rutta and forward Dalton Heinen and played defenseman Mark Friedman for the first time since Feb. 11. … The Rangers were without injured defenseman Ryan Lindgren for the 10th straight game.


Penguins: Host the Ottawa Senators on Monday.

Rangers: Host the Nashville Predators on Sunday night.

Coyotes sign Shane Doan’s son to entry-level contract

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TEMPE, Ariz. — Josh Doan is following his father’s footsteps into professional hockey.

The Arizona Coyotes signed the 21-year-old forward to a three-year entry-level contract, beginning with the 2023-24 NHL season. He will report to the Tucson Roadrunners of the AHL and play his first game against the Calgary Wranglers.

Doan’s father, Shane, played 21 seasons with the franchise, many of those as captain, and followed it from Winnipeg to the desert in 1996. Shane Doan now serves as Arizona’s chief hockey development officer.

The Coyotes drafted Josh Doan in the second round of the 2021, but he opted to play for the hometown Arizona State Sun Devils.

Josh Doan set school records for goals (12) and assists (25) as a freshman last season. He had 16 goals and 22 assists in 39 games with Arizona State this season.

The 6-foot-1, 183-pounder also played two seasons for the Chicago Steel of the USHL.

Blackhawks forward Cole Guttman has shoulder surgery

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CHICAGO — Chicago Blackhawks forward Cole Guttman had surgery on his right shoulder.

The team said the operation was performed in Los Angeles. Team physician Michael Terry said the 23-year-old Guttman is expected “to be out of hockey activities for approximately four months.”

Guttman had been a pleasant surprise for rebuilding Chicago. He made his NHL debut last month and finished the season with four goals and two assists in 14 games.

Guttman was selected by Tampa Bay in the 2017 draft. He agreed to a two-year contract with Chicago in August 2022 that had a $950,000 salary cap hit.