Photo: The Athletic
The New Jersey Devils will sign unrestricted free agent right-handed defenseman Dougie Hamilton to a seven-year contract that carries a $8.57 million cap hit on Wednesday. After losing him, the Carolina Hurricanes acquired right-handed defenseman Ethan Bear from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for left-winger Warren Foegele.
While averaging 22:43 per game last season, including 3:03 on the power play and 1:26 on the penalty kill, Hamilton, 28, recorded 10 goals, 42 points, a +20 rating, a 56.03% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, a 56.55% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, and a 56.47% scoring chances-for percentage in 55 games. He added two goals, five points, and a +7 rating in 11 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
In 607 career regular-season games with the Hurricanes, Boston Bruins, and Calgary Flames, Hamilton has recorded 106 goals, 341 points, and a +72 rating.
The Devils improve a defense that gave up an average of 3.38 (tied for the fourth-most in the NHL last season), a 14.2% power-play efficiency (fourth-worst), and a league-worst 71% penalty-killing efficiency with the addition of Hamilton, who gives them a No. 1 defenseman.
Hamilton is a huge loss for the Hurricanes but that is mitigated with the addition of Bear, who recorded two goals, eight points, a -1 rating, a 50.53% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, a 55.36% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, and a 51.56% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage in 43 games with the Oilers last season. He averaged 17:58 per game last season, including 1:48 while shorthanded and 32 seconds on the power play.
In 132 career NHL games, all with the Oilers, the 24-year-old has posted eight goals, 33 points, and a -16 rating. He set career-highs in goals (five), assists (16), games (21), and games (71) in 2019-20. Bear, who averaged 17:58 per game (including 32 seconds on the power play and 1:48 on the penalty kill) last season, has posted a -8 rating in eight career Stanley Cup Playoff games.
Ethan Bear, traded to CAR, is a young two-way defenceman who played well in tough minutes as a rookie and improved his results in a more limited role this season. A tough turnover in the playoffs doesn’t outweigh that this is a good player. #LetsGoCanes pic.twitter.com/8HnP8Zdb6C
— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) July 28, 2021
The Hurricanes defense, which allowed an average of 2.39 goals-per-game last season (tied for fourth in the NHL), gets worse with the loss of Hamilton but should still be respectable with the addition of Bear. The same goes for the penalty kill, which finished third with an 85.2% rate.
Their offense, which averaged 3.13 goals-per-game (11th), also downgrades with the loss of Foegele, who recorded 10 goals and 20 points in 53 games last season. He also chipped in a goal and two points in 10 Stanley Cup Playoff games. The 25-year-old averaged 1:02 on the penalty kill, so that is not helped as well.
In 200 career NHL games, all with the Hurricanes, Foegele has recorded 35 goals and 68 points.
The Hurricanes will also sign goaltender Antti Raanta to a two-year contract that carries a $2 million cap hit.
The 32-year-old has been limited to just 12 games in two of the past three seasons but has been solid when healthy. Raanta went 5-5-2 with a .905 save percentage and a 3.36 goals-against average last season, both career-highs on an Arizona Coyotes team that finished nine points out of a Stanley Cup Playoff spot and allowed 3.11 goals-per-game (11th-most in the NHL last season).
Raanta has finished with a .919 save percentage or higher in five of his eight NHL seasons and has pushed Corey Crawford when he was with the Chicago Blackhawks and Henrik Lundqvist when he was with the New York Rangers for playing time. It could be beneficial for Samsonov’s development to add a veteran to the roster. In 2019-20, Raanta went 15-14-3 with a .921 save percentage, a 2.63 goals-against average, and two shutouts.
The Hurricanes also signed goaltender Frederik Andersen on Wednesday after losing Petr Mrazek in free agency to the Toronto Maple Leafs and Alex Nedeljkovic via trade to the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday.
— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) July 28, 2021
By Harrison Brown