Capitals

What was the best offseason move in the Metropolitan Division?

Capitals
Dougie Hamilton

The Metropolitan Division looks very different than it did just a few weeks ago. Trades have been made, the free agent frenzy is over and teams are starting to finalize their rosters. There may be a few late moves coming later, but as of now, which team made the best move of the offseason? Andrew Gillis and JJ Regan discuss.

Andrew: Dougie Hamilton signing, New Jersey Devils

This was a close one. 

It came down to Dougie Hamilton signing with the Devils or the Flyers acquiring Ryan Ellis, but I lean Hamilton. He signed a seven-year, $63 million contract that will pay him an AAV of $9 million. On the first day of free agency, this isn't a terrible deal to make.

Hamilton, 28, bounced around in his career, from Boston to Calgary to Carolina, but now seems to have a permanent home with a team that needed him in the worst way.

He was fourth in voting for the Norris Trophy last season after 10 goals and 32 assists in 55 games. He’s a true impact defender at both ends of the ice and immediately is the best defenseman on the Devils’ roster. 

While he’s paid handsomely for his services, he’s still just 28 years old and played perhaps the best hockey of his life last season. This is the type of player that, even if the contract is a tad bit of an overpay, a team will live with. 

JJ: Dougie Hamilton signing, New Jersey Devils

 

Andrew and I are in lockstep on this one.

Two moves stand out to me. I really like the Ryan Ellis trade for Philadelphia. He is an elite defenseman on a team that desperately needed to improve its defense, and it just cost the Flyers Philippe Myers and Nolan Patrick to acquire him.

But the move that I would call the best is New Jersey's signing Dougie Hamilton.

At 28, the Devils now get Hamilton at his prime to lead the blue line. New Jersey ranked 27th in the NHL in goals against per game last season, so adding a true No. 1 defenseman, one who finished fourth in the voting for the Norris Trophy last season, is the best thing this team could have done to bolster its roster.

A $9 million cap hit is hefty, but P.K. Subban's $9 million cap hit comes off the books next year, meaning New Jersey will still have money to tinker with its roster next season. This is not a case of a non-playoff team maxing out on the cap before they even get a hint of postseason success. This is a team that looks like it is really starting to build something.