Can the Boston Bruins Keep Dougie Hamilton?


The Boston Bruins are going to have make a very ugly choice in their near future. Dougie Hamilton (Boston’s future number one defenseman) will be a restricted free-agent. He’s going to be worth an awful lot of money, and it’s money that the Bruins just don’t have anymore. The estimated ball park figure for Hamilton’s new contract is coming in at somewhere around $4.5 million per year.

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  • If the speculation is correct, and it is $4.5 million, that’s about half of what the Bruins organization has left to sign the remaining players on the roster. The Bruins have already begun the process of streamlining the organization by choosing not to re-sign Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell. (While that choice was painful for some fans, it’s likely the easiest choice they’ll have to make going towards July 1.) The Bruins will have to cut deeper and trade one or two players they don’t want to in order to keep Hamilton.

    This is why Peter Chiarelli got fired. Chiarelli flirted with disaster trying to bring Jarome Iginla over to Boston, and the organization has been paying for it ever since. His decision to keep players in long-term, no-move clauses have put the Bruins in this position now.  It was just terrible cap management, and now the Bruins will have to think of something, especially if other teams think they can steal Hamilton away from the TD Garden.

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    There is no doubt that the Boston Bruins want to keep Dougie Hamilton. The question is, will they be able to afford him, and keep a playoff-capable Bruins team together?

    At the moment, there are at least half a dozen teams who have the cap space to throw an impressive offer-sheet at Hamilton.  What happens if one of the other teams goes and does precisely that? How will the Bruins be able to compensate for that kind of hit without having themselves a mini fire sale?  They’ll have no choice but to let Carl Soderberg go, and then try to trade away Reilly Smith.

    The Bruins need Dougie Hamilton.  Last season, the twenty-one year old was fifth in scoring for the Black and Gold.  His forty-two points led all B’s defensemen.  When it came to average time on ice last season, he was third (behind Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg).  Chara isn’t get any younger, and Seidenberg still doesn’t seem one hundred percent after his knee surgery last year.

    There is no one currently in the Bruins organization that can replace Hamilton. No one in the AHL could step up to take his place, and unless the Bruins pulled off another ‘magic beans trade’ with another NHL team, they’re not going to find one.  So, the question is what can the Bruins do to keep their young defenseman?

    They’ll have to break up the family. (Something they probably should have done after 2011.) They’ll ask Dennis Seidenberg if he was still sincere about moving, and if he is, they’ll move him. They might even ask some of the no-trade, no-move players if they’d entertain playing somewhere else next year.

    If they don’t do that, then the new Bruins general manager may earn the wrath of the fan base very early in his career by entertaining the unfathomable. The Bruins could decide to trade Hamilton in order to start the re-build we know they need to do.  Hopefully, it won’t have to come to that, but it’s a possibility.

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