With the NHL Draft over three hours away, the movement continues. The Bruins unloaded their second player of the day sending defenseman Dougie Hamilton to the Flames for a first round pick and two seconds. Calgary sends Boston the 15th, 45th and 55th picks in this year’s draft. A similar payment had they signed him to a offer sheet.
Fearing they couldn’t re-sign the Group II free agent, Boston GM Don Sweeney unloaded the talented 22-year old Hamilton to Calgary who have plenty of room to fit him in. Hamilton set career highs in goals (10) assists (32), points (42), power play goals (5) and power play points (15) in 72 games for the Bruins. He finished his rookie deal making $1.49 million. Unlike Boston whose cap is tighter, Calgary has over 21 million to spend and should have no problem re-signing Hamilton to a extension.
The move is still perplexing because the Bruins defense isn’t good. With aging captain Zdeno Chara still with three years remaining on his contract with a cap hit of $6.92 million and Dennis Seidenberg also signed through 2018, Boston weakened themselves dramatically on the blueline. Torey Krug is due $3.4 million in 2015-16 before turning restricted next summer. The rest of the D on the current roster are Adam McQuaid, Matt Bartkowski and Kevan Miller.
There probably is another trade coming. Milan Lucic’s name has been mentioned as trade bait with the bruising power forward open to a deal back home to Vancouver. He is entering his final year earning $6.5 million with a cap hit of $6 million. The 27-year old can test the market in 2016 and could command between $7.5 to $8 million per year. Considering that Brad Marchand is signed through 2017 and the Bruins are tied to top centers Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci through 2020, it makes plenty of sense to unload Lucic and retool.
As for the Flames, they now boast the league’s deepest defense featuring captain Mark Giordano, Dennis Wideman, T.J. Brodie, Kris Russell, newly acquired Hamilton and top heavyweight Deryk Engelland. Perhaps Ladislav Smid ($3.5 million) becomes expendable. He has two years left on his current deal worth $7.75 million. Even scarier, Calgary has all their top forwards signed but Jiri Hudler and David Jones are unrestricted next summer while Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau will be due big raises. Figure Brian Burke to turn his attention to that in due time.