SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Calgary Flames added to their already strong defense with a 22-year-old potential all-star Friday.
Calgary acquired defenseman Dougie Hamilton from the Boston Bruins in a trade for their first-round pick (No. 15) in the 2015 NHL Draft and the two second-round picks (Nos. 45 and 52) they previously acquired from the Washington Capitals.
Hamilton can become a restricted free agent on July 1, but Flames general manager Brad Treliving said he has been in touch with Hamilton’s agent and is confident they will be able to settle on a contract relatively soon.
"I look at our team right now with Mark Giordano, TJ Brodie, Kris Russell, Dennis Wideman, Deryk Engelland, [Ladislav] Smid as he recovers, and adding Dougie Hamilton to our mix; I like that defense," Treliving said. "I think it's critical to build your team from the defense out."
Hamilton had 83 points in 178 games in the past three seasons, including 42 points in 72 games this season. He had 10 points in 19 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
The Flames had the most productive defense in the NHL this season with 195 points, including 56 from Wideman, 48 in 61 games from Giordano, and 41 from Brodie.
"We made our blue line bigger, faster and younger," Flames coach Bob Hartley said. "There's no shortage of skills in Dougie Hamilton. He plays basically the same game we play, so it's just a matter of finding the right partner and finding the right game. That's how we're going to go."
Among the reasons Hamilton was so attractive to the Flames (age, height, skill, etc.) is his ability to be a strong possession defender.
The Flames struggled getting the puck out of their zone last season and were 28th in the NHL in shot-attempts percentage (44.43). Hamilton was first among Bruins defensemen with a 54.93 SAT.
"This player is able to go back, retrieve pucks, exit the zone," Treliving said. "His ability to deny entries, his ability to create offense both with his passing and legs, his ability to get shots on the net; we think this is a real good addition for us."
Hamilton expressed his excitement to join the Flames, particularly because he's going to a team that is building with a young core, including Brodie (25) and forwards Johnny Gaudreau (21), Sean Monahan (20) and Sam Bennett (19).
Hamilton was the youngest player on the Bruins last season.
"Just watching those guys and seeing how successful they were and how good of players they are, I think it's going to be a great opportunity for me," Hamilton said. "Seeing the talent of those young guys, it's exciting and it shows the direction the team is going in. It's going to be a fun team to play on and I'm happy to be a part of it."
Treliving and Hartley referenced Hamilton's age as a key reason he was so attractive to them.
"This is an age-group asset for us," Treliving said. "This is a player who fits where we're going in Calgary. This is not a deviation in terms of the young players that we're building around. To me he adds to it. He's in that peer group."
Treliving said he started talking with Bruins general manager Don Sweeney about Hamilton soon after the Flames were eliminated by the Anaheim Ducks in the Western Conference Second Round. That's also when Hartley started to learn more about Hamilton's game.
"As soon as the rumors [started] that the Bruins would put him on the market, obviously we watched many shifts and many videos," Hartley said.
The trade talks heated up once Sweeney and Treliving arrived in Florida earlier this week. Other teams reportedly were involved in trade talks with the Bruins, including the Edmonton Oilers, who are led by former Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli.
Treliving said he didn't know for sure that he was getting Hamilton until he got the call from Sweeney saying he would make the trade.
"This is a good player," Treliving said. "This is a good player that a lot of teams had interest in. You're hopeful, but until you know you have a deal you don't have a deal. When Donny told me those words, we were pretty happy."