The “Best” Deals
There weren’t many Actually Good signings, but some were better than others enough to count and there were a number of cheap deals with some promise. Before we get to the trainwreck, here are some of the bright moments from the opening day of the frenzy.
Dougie Hamilton: It’s not often the most lucrative contract of the day is the best one. Generally, there’s a good chance it’s the worst. That’s not the case with Hamilton who has long been underrated by Hockey Men everywhere and is now on a potential good value deal as a result. The fact he was paid $500K per season less than Seth Jones is truly bewildering given the past two seasons for both players. Hamilton is better than Jones. Full stop. There was maybe an argument for it before last season, but not anymore. I will not be listening to anything suggesting the contrary.
At $9 million per, the expectation for Hamilton is to be a two-win defender through the life of the deal. He’s at 3.2 wins to start and should be worth 2.6 on average when taking his age into consideration, giving him a strong cushion to be worth his lofty price tag. He’s a unique player with only one comp so it’s hard to judge exactly how he’ll age, but that one comp is Brent Burns who was still pretty damn effective in his early 30s.
There is a good chance public models overrate Hamilton’s impact and I don’t want to downplay that. But everywhere he goes and plays, he earns elite results and that’s been at both ends of the ice the last two seasons. Hamilton finished fourth in Norris Trophy voting last season and should continue to be in contention for the next few years. He’s a true No. 1 defenceman, an elite one at that, and that’s worth the price of admission here.
Hamilton’s deal comes in with a surplus value of $18.8 million over the life of the deal leaving plenty of room for error if the model is indeed overrating him. It’s also far and away the most surplus value of any deal on the day. The Devils benefit greatly from an unfair and undeserved reputation. Hamilton is the real deal.
Edit: I give up on formatting