Dougie hopes to go high in this years NHL Entry Draft (Aaron Bell/OHL Images)
One of the most exciting times of the year is upon us as we are about one week away from the NHL Entry Draft which starts Friday June 24th at 6:00 P.M. Eastern time. The Florida Panthers will be drafting in the third position just as they did last season, and we here at the Rat Trick are going to break down some of the possibilities.
Today, we will take a look at Niagara IceDog’s Defensemen Dougie Hamilton. Hamilton is a Toronto, Ontario native. He stands at 6’4 and weighs 193 pounds.
Last season, while playing for the IceDog’s Hamilton tallied 12 goals, and added 46 assists in 67 games. He was a stellar +35 on the blueline for the IceDog’s. The +35 is a vital stat being looked at by the Florida Panthers considering that the likes of Keaton Ellerby (-15) and Dmitry Kulikov (-5).
Heading into the 2011 off season the Florida Panthers currently have 4 defensemen under contract: Dmitry Kulikov, Jason Garrison, Keaton Ellerby, and Mike Weaver. That right there is a great 1-2 punch and most likely next season we will see the debut of Panthers 2010 first round selection Erik Gudbranson, this means that we have a vacant spot in our lineup – a vacant spot which Hamilton could very well occupy, or at least make a great push for.
With the current max salary for free agents sitting at around 875 000 $ over a 3 year term, we would be looking at a highly talented defensive corps earning just over 4-million dollars. With the Salary Cap being raised to a new $64-million dollar level, the Panthers would then have the flexibility to sign a veteran defenseman to lead these young guys, and still have lots of money left over to spend filling holes.
Hamilton comes from a very athletic family. His father, Doug represented Canada in rowing at the 1984 Olympic games where he won bronze. His mother, Lynn is a women’s basketball player who had also represented Canada in the ‘84 Olympics. Also, his older brother, Freddie was selected in the fifth-round by the San Jose Sharks in last years draft. Freddie also played for the Nigara IceDogs last season, scoring 38 goals and adding 45 assists.
Another interesting fact regarding Hamilton is the level of intelligence that he possess not only on the ice, but off the ice. He recently claimed the Ontario Hockey League award as the top high school student with an average of 94 percent. A lot of people had questioned whether how committed Dougie would be considering his marks and what possibilities he has before him, but he has made a clear cut answer, he was to be a hockey player.
Hamilton has received some criticism towards not being physical enough to play in the NHL, but a recent interview with former NHLer, and now assistant coach of the Niagara Ice Dogs – Mike Van Ryn, conducted by TheStar has Van Ryn telling a different story.
“I never question that out of him,” said Van Ryn. “I think Dougie’s a guy that will give you offence, but he’s going to be a guy that’s extremely hard to play against. In a lot of ways, he reminds me of Jay Bouwmeester but at time’s he’s got a tenacity to him like he’s almost a little bit of Chris Pronger.
Cleary, the Hamilton’s could write a book about their interesting lives and how sports and school played a major roll in it, but for now, Dougie would rather focus on writing his own career stories, NHL stories, no doubt starting with June 24, 2011.