How Dougie Hamilton ended up on the Hurricanes

The 25-year-old defenseman spent his first three seasons with the Bruins. Now he features on the Hurricanes' defense.

Dougie Hamilton Carolina Hurricanes NHL
Dougie Hamilton started his career with the Bruins. Now he features on the Hurricanes' blue line. –Grant Halverson / Getty Images

The Bruins will see a familiar face wearing red when they meet the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden Thursday.

Dougie Hamilton arrived on the Bruins as the ninth overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft and played his first three professional seasons in Boston. By the 2014-15 season’s end, Hamilton emerged as one of the team’s most valuable defenseman and appeared the heir apparent to Zdeno Chara on the blue line at age 22.

The Bruins abruptly traded Hamilton to the Calgary Flames on June 26, 2015 when they could not reach an agreement with Hamilton on a new contract when his entry-level rookie deal expired.

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Hamilton played three more seasons with Calgary and scored 40 points or more in each season, but the Flames only made the playoffs once with him on the roster. So, in June 2018, they traded Dougie Hamilton too, this time to the Hurricanes.

How does a big, mobile, offensively-gifted defenseman get moved twice before he’s turned 26?

After Hamilton’s trade away from Boston in 2015, one anonymous NHL assistant general manager told the Boston Herald that Hamilton’s Bruins teammates did not like him.  NBC Sports Boston’s Joe Haggerty reported that “one of the final straws” with Hamilton on the Bruins was an end-of-season team party in Las Vegas that he and Reilly Smith, another Bruin that was traded in the summer of 2015, did not attend.

In Calgary, it was rumored that Hamilton had used his influence to get the Flames to acquire his older brother, Freddie, in a 2015 trade, and subsequently made his disappointment clear when the Flames parted ways with the elder Hamilton in January of 2018.

After his most recent trade, Sportsnet’s Eric Francis wrote that Hamilton had been “the poster boy for a squad that had far too many players who seemed all too content with the shocking number of losses that mounted down the stretch” of the 2017-18 season. Rumors that he did not get along with teammates, accompanied by a bizarre claim Hamilton would opt for solo trips to museums rather than join his Flames teammates on group outings, followed him again to Carolina.

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Whatever the reasons for his arrival in Raleigh, Hamilton found success in his first season with his third team. He was the team’s fifth-highest scorer (39 points) this season and scored more goals (18) than all but one NHL defenseman. As the Hurricanes became one of the NHL’s feel-good stories, Hamilton featured in their exciting postgame celebrations.

The Bruins and Hurricanes will play Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals Thursday at 8 p.m. at TD Garden.

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