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Hamilton hoping for new contract, to 'keep going' with Hurricanes

Defenseman can become unrestricted free agent July 28

by Tracey Myers @Tramyers_NHL / Staff Writer

Dougie Hamilton said he's hoping to get a new contract to remain with the Carolina Hurricanes.

The defenseman can become an unrestricted free agent July 28. He said the Hurricanes have yet to resume discussions with agent J.P. Barry about keeping him long term after the final season of a six-year contract he signed with the Calgary Flames on June 30, 2015. He was traded to Carolina on June 23, 2018.

"I let my agent talk, but they kind of tabled conversations until after the season and I'm sure they'll start talking again soon," Hamilton said Wednesday. "I really enjoy it here. I've got some really good friends, met really, really good people in the room and away from the room off the ice too. I have nothing bad to say about my experience here and being a Carolina Hurricane and I've really enjoyed it. Hopefully we can keep going."

The Hurricanes (36-12-8) lost in the Stanley Cup Second Round in five games to the Tampa Bay Lightning after they were the No. 1 seed in the Discover Central Division. Hamilton led Carolina defensemen with 42 points (10 goals, 32 assists) in 55 games.

"He's been a huge part of this team, a huge part of our success," Carolina defenseman Jaccob Slavin said Friday. "I want him back. I enjoyed playing with him and I think we work well together. This is the tough part about hockey and just the business side of things. You get guys in the locker room you like and that you like playing with. Sometimes it works for them to come back and sometimes it doesn't. Hopefully it can be worked out because he makes our team better. So, yeah, I want him back."

Hamilton averaged 22:43 of ice time per game, third on the Hurricanes behind Slavin (22:59) and Brett Pesce (22:48). He tied forwards Sebastian Aho and Vincent Trocheck for the Carolina lead with 18 power-play points and scored five points (two goals, three assists) in 11 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

Hamilton missed the final 21 regular-season games last season after breaking his left fibula Jan. 16 but returned Aug. 12 and played five postseason games.

"I'm happy with how I've developed and improved," Hamilton said. "Breaking my leg last year, coming back this year, it's definitely not easy. I'm definitely proud of myself for going through that and coming back. But I'm hungry to become a better player and I think I can do that."

The Hurricanes have made playoffs in three consecutive seasons, losing to the Boston Bruins in the 2019 Eastern Conference Final and in the first round last season. They believe they're close to competing for the Stanley Cup but have decisions on other pending unrestricted free agents: forwards Brock McGinn and Jordan Martinook, and goalies James Reimer and Petr Mrazek.

"I'm anxious about all of them, to be honest," Pesce said. "I think we have a really good group, a special group of guys, not just on the ice but off the ice, the way we all interact with each other. I can honestly sit down and have a 1-on-1 with every guy in that room for dinner and be fine and enjoy it. I don't know if most teams can say that. But obviously this is where the business comes in. Hopefully they'll be back, but we'll see."

Pesce said he was fine after the hit he took from Lightning forward Ondrej Palat in the third period of Game 5 on Tuesday. He left with 7:10 remaining.

Trocheck said he sprained an MCL when he collided with teammate Warren Foegele late in the second period of Game 2. Trocheck, who played Game 5 after missing Games 3 and 4, said he won't need surgery.

"I'll be fine," he said. "Just a couple of weeks off will do the trick."

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