Over the weekend the rumor mill has heated up a little with the Pittsburgh Penguins apparently in the mix for Calgary Flames defenseman Dougie Hamilton. They emanated from Canada in Sportsnet's Nick Kypreos
"As far as trade talks are concerned you hear Dougie Hamilton’s name out there," Kypreos said, before downplaying Calgary’s interest in moving him right now. "I don’t suggest for one second that Calgary’s shopping this guy, but there are teams inquiring. The two teams I’m hearing that are kicking tires are Arizona and Pittsburgh."
The problem, from Calgary’s perspective, is that Hamilton hasn’t yet developed into the player they thought they were getting from Boston. He has just two goals and six points in 15 games and is fifth among Flames defencemen with an average of 18:49 of ice time per game.
Calgary got Hamilton from Boston in June of 2015 for a first-round pick and two seconds.
"I think if you’re Calgary you’re focused on this guy playing a lot better first," Kypreos continued. "If you are in fact going to think about trading him you gotta trade him when the stock is high and right now, unfortunately in Calgary, it's not."
The Calgary Herald caught Hamilton's reaction to the above:
"I saw it, for sure," said Calgary Flames defenceman Dougie Hamilton, reacting to Saturday’s nationally-televised report from Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos that a couple of teams have called to ask about the availability of the 23-year-old.
"You can’t think too much into that stuff. Just try to keep playing hockey.
"It’s part of the game. I think every deadline, every draft and all that stuff, there are always rumours. There are so many rumours and stuff, and I don’t know how much of it is true or anything, right?
Calgary has a lot of money tied into their defense, which makes it an easy target for a potential change.
Hamilton, in particular, comes with a cap hit $5.75 million through the 2020-2021 season and he just isn’t playing well enough right now.
In his first season with the Flames, Hamilton 12 goals, 31 assists and a minus-14 rating in 82 games. This year, he has two goals and six points in 16 games, but both those goals and one of the his assists all came in the same game.
Regardless of whether or not it happens, it's encouraging to hear the Penguins in the mix. When you've got a talented young player who isn't doing well, on a struggling team that may be inclined to make a change, it's the job of Pens GM Jim Rutherford to at least "kick the tires" and see if there's a deal to be made that could improve the Penguins.
The salary cap will complicate, but where there's a will there's a way to finagle it, Pittsburgh is capped out right now, but if they were to include the contract/cap hit of Pascal Dupuis that for instance could balance things out.
More than likely, it's logical that Calgary wouldn't want to sell low on Hamilton, because they did pay a 1st and two 2nd round picks to get him just over a year ago. The price to ship him out probably can't be too much lower value-wise than that, otherwise it's not a good look for the Flames who might as well keep the young player and hope that he progresses. That price may be deemed too high for Pittsburgh, but I assume the Flames would want a player back in return to help them out this season and the Pens probably aren't going to want Calgary's most desirable options.
Most NHL rumors don't come to pass as a reality, but it's a good thing that Pittsburgh seems constantly on the prowl to attempt to improve their team. In this case, Calgary and Hamilton might not be ideal trading partners for Pittsburgh, but you never know the price until you "kick the tires", so at least the due diligence is being done.