Checking in on what is happening in the NHL as training camps continue around the league.
Dougie Hamilton wants to stay with Hurricanes
The Carolina Hurricanes have a lot of contracts to deal with after this season, and defenseman Dougie Hamilton will be one of the biggest.
Hamilton is entering the final year of his contract with the team and will be eligible for unrestricted free agency after this season. If he hits the open market he will be one of the top players available. It sounds like there is a mutual interest in making sure it never gets to that point.
The veteran defenseman said on Tuesday that is hopeful to re-sign with the team, via NHL.com.
General manager Don Waddell previously said he would like to get something done before the season. “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 was magnificent during the 2019-20 season and was putting together a Norris Trophy caliber season before an injury sidelined him for the second half of the regular season. He still finished seventh in the voting. The 27-year-old has spent two years with the Hurricanes, tallying 32 goals and 79 total points in his 129 games with the team. That goal total is tops among all defensemen in the league during that stretch even though he missed 25 games. He has scored at least 10 goals in each of his past six seasons, while also posting elite possession numbers.
His current contract is a team friendly deal against the salary cap at $5.75 million per season. His next contract may not be.
Zdeno Chara takes the ice with Capitals
New defenseman Zdeno Chara was on the ice for the Washington Capitals on Tuesday, skating with the team’s second practice group. He was not with the team on Monday while quarantining and going through all of the league’s COVID-19 protocols. Chara will join the Capitals’ main practice group on Wednesday.
This is strange to see. Not only because it is Zdeno Chara in Capitals gear, but also that music!
BAH GAWD THAT'S ZDENO CHARA'S MUSIC! pic.twitter.com/OrUtQySTqA
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) January 5, 2021
More news and notes from around the NHL
Meanwhile, veteran forward Mike Hoffman was skating on the team’s second line with Robert Thomas and Jaden Schwartz. That is a heck of a top-six for the Blues, and that is without the services of Vladimir Tarasenko who will open the regular season on LTIR.
• Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere has heard the trade rumors and only wants to focus on getting back to being the player that he was. He was limited to just 42 games a year ago and posted by far the worst numbers of his NHL career. Will a fresh start and better health this season get him back on track?
• Joe Pavelski was back on the ice for the Dallas Stars today after missing practice on Monday.
Stars lines and D pairs today:
Hanley unfit to practice.
— Mike Heika (@MikeHeika) January 5, 2021
The intriguing thing here is Hintz and Gurianov on the top line. Both players were outstanding for the Stars a year ago and have absolutely earned a larger role. Gurianov was not only the Stars’ leading goal scoring in the regular season and playoffs, he was one of the most efficient goal scorers in the entire NHL when you factor in his ice time and usage.
Using those two players more this season could be a big factor in the Stars improving their offense, and making up for the early absence of Tyler Seguin.
• The Edmonton Oilers opened training camp this week with Zack Kassian and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins playing on Connor McDavid‘s wings. This is not the first time they have used Kassian in that spot, with mixed results in the past. It certainly boosts Kassian’s production to skate in that spot. Sportsnet has more on that.
Free agent acquisition Kyle Turris was centering the third line between Josh Archibald and 2017 No. 4 overall pick Jesse Puljujarvi. Depending on how Turris and Puljujarvi play this season that third line has some intriguing potential.