Back in 2013, Dougie Hamilton made his NHL debut for the Boston Bruins in a two-goal victory over the New York Rangers. Since then, the 27-year-old has moved on to play for both the Calgary Flames and Carolina Hurricanes. In 2015, Hamilton signed a six-year deal worth approximately £26.16 million. That deal, however, is soon to come to an end. The 2020-21 campaign will be the last on Hamilton’s existing contract, meaning that potential eligibility as an unrestricted free agent will soon become a possibility. So, let’s take a look at what the future holds for the 27-year-old.   

The Hurricanes Hope for a Contract Extension 

After signing his long-deal deal with the Flames, the defenceman was traded to the Hurricanes in June 2018, in exchange for Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin. Following his arrival at the one-time Stanley Cup-winning outfit, Hamilton has taken his game to the next level. Given his age and his recent string of impressive displays, it wouldn’t be unrealistic to suggest that the 27-year-old holds the cards in relation to an extension. To showcase his progression, as per a report at FanSided, the Ontario-born competitor broke a pre-existing record set by Mark Howe back in 1980-81 concerning the fewest games played to reach 20 points by a defenceman.   

His recent rise to prominence has seen Hamilton become an integral part of the Hurricanes’ system under Roderic Brind’Armour. Interestingly, the Raleigh-based team are hopeful that he will put pen to paper on a new deal prior to the start of the 2020-21 season. It’s clear to see why the two-time conference championship winners are eager to resolve this saga, as Hamilton was in contention to claim the James Norris Memorial Trophy during the last campaign. Sadly, his hopes of winning the award for the greatest all-round ability of a defensive player were scuppered through injury, but that shouldn’t detract from his new-found form.  

Aug 17, 2020; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton (19) takes a shot during warmups prior to game four of the first round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

What Could the Upcoming Season have in Store for Hamilton’s Team? 

As mentioned above, throughout their 48-year history, the Hurricanes have only once clinched the Stanley Cup. This came back in 2006 following a 4-3 victory over the Edmonton Oilers. Prior to that, the three-time division championship winners did make the season’s finale in 2002 but fell at the final hurdle against the Detroit Red Wings. While aiming to secure a place in the Stanley Cup may be too much to ask in 2020-21, Brind’Armour will undoubtedly be hoping that his team will better their first-round exit from the 2019-20 playoffs.  

However, unpredictability is part and parcel of sport. Stranger things have happened, meaning that ruling the Hurricanes out of contention for a second Stanley Cup success in 2020-21 would be unwise. As of November 13th, the Jerks, as they are nicknamed, are 20/1 in NHL betting odds to win the Stanley Cup come the end of the upcoming season. In order to maximise their chances of success, finding clarity regarding Hamilton’s future will help, as tying one of their star players down to a long-term deal will give them a stable foundation to build on. 

Hamilton Will be Eager to Win Trophies 

For someone of the 27-year-old’s quality, there can be no doubt that he should be challenging for the NHL’s biggest honours. Ever since his days with the Bruins, he has been one of the league’s best defenceman, but he doesn’t currently have a single Stanely Cup triumph to his name. Although he’ll likely be keen to stay with the Hurricanes, he may consider his options now that he’s in the prime of his career.