Dougie Hamilton agreed to a seven-year, $63 million contract with the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday. It has an average annual value of $9 million.
The 28-year-old defenseman, who was an unrestricted free agent, scored 42 points (10 goals, 32 assists) in 55 regular-season games for the Carolina Hurricanes last season and five points (two goals, three assists) in 11 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
“We are thrilled to welcome Dougie and his family to the New Jersey Devils organization,” Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald said Wednesday. “As a player and person, he has consistently shown a commitment to excellence and will play a leading role in our franchise’s return to an elite level in the League.
“We believe that the magnitude of his contributions on the ice will be equal to his impact on our culture as we continue to position ourselves for long-term success. I am proud of the work our entire staff did to promote the amazing attributes of this organization and to bring aboard one of the most sought-after free agents this year.”
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Selected by the Boston Bruins with the No. 9 pick in the 2011 NHL Draft, Hamilton has scored 341 points (106 goals, 235 assists) in 607 regular-season games for the Bruins, Calgary Flames and Hurricanes and 25 points (eight goals, 17 assists) in 54 playoff games.
Hamilton has scored 84 goals since the 2015-16 season, second among NHL defensemen behind Brent Burns of the San Jose Sharks (103).
Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell, who said Saturday that signing Hamilton was Carolina’s “No. 1 objective,” said he was comfortable with the final offer the Hurricanes made.
“We had lots of talks with his representation and just couldn’t get to where they felt it needed to be,” Waddell said. “In a salary cap world, you want to make sure you spend your money wisely. Dougie was a big part of our hockey team here. We’ve got [forward Andrei] Svechnikov coming up on his contract, (center) Martin Necas next year. We want to be a good team for a long time and we just felt we made our offer, an eight-year offer that was right where we felt the market would be for us and for him.
He earned the right to be a free agent. These guys play and get this opportunity to be a UFA and he wanted to see what the market was.”
The Devils signed Jonathan Bernier to a two-year, $8.25 million contract earlier Wednesday. It has an average annual value of $4.125 million.
The goalie, who turns 33 on Aug. 7, was an unrestricted free agent. He was 9-11-1 with a 2.99 goals-against average and .914 save percentage in 24 games (23 starts) for the Detroit Red Wings last season.
The Hurricanes acquired Bernier in a trade with the Red Wings for goalie Alex Nedeljkovic on July 22. Carolina also received a third-round pick (No. 94) in the 2021 NHL Draft.
New Jersey on Wednesday traded Will Butcher and a fifth-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft to the Buffalo Sabres for future considerations.
The 26-year-old defenseman scored 11 points (one goal, 10 assists) in 23 games for the Devils this season. Selected by the Colorado Avalanche in the fifth round (No. 123) of the 2013 NHL Draft, Butcher has scored 106 points (14 goals, 92 assists) in 238 regular-season games with New Jersey and four points (one goal, three assists) in five playoff games.
NHL.com staff writer Tom Gulitti contributed to this report