Hamiltons contract is Hurricanes No. 1 objective

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Dougie Hamilton could re-sign with the Carolina Hurricanes after last month being given permission to speak with other teams about a new contract.

“Our No. 1 objective is to get him signed,” Carolina general manager Don Waddell said Saturday. “That hasn’t changed at all. Both of us agree that we have to get this resolved before free agency starts (July 28) because, if free agency starts, we need a defenseman. We can’t be patient and wait for Dougie to make a decision. We want Dougie back and we’re hoping we can do that this week.”

The Hurricanes had permitted Hamilton’s agent, J.P. Barry, to speak with other teams to potentially set up a sign-and-trade, which would allow Hamilton to sign a maximum eight-year contract before becoming an unrestricted free agent. If he reaches free agency, the maximum he could sign would be a seven-year contract.

Waddell said he plans to speak with Barry on Sunday.

“I think in time they’ve gotten closer, and I also think they’ve gone out and checked to see what the market was for him,” Waddell said. “I’m feeling pretty good. I know Dougie is very familiar with where we are. We just don’t know what his thoughts are. It’s up to J.P. and I to make this work for both of us. I feel pretty good that we’ll be able to get this done.

“His value might be higher somewhere else, but we’re talking about a team that is trying to win a championship. You’re going to need resources in different areas to put the best team on the ice. We have a plan in place for Dougie. He’s very aware of it. We’ve made an offer to him. We have to stay the course.”

Hamilton has played the past three seasons for Carolina since being acquired in a trade with the Calgary Flames on June 23, 2018.

The 28-year-old has led Hurricanes defensemen in points in each of those seasons and was tied for seventh in the NHL this season with 42 points (10 goals, 32 assists) in 55 games, including an NHL career-high 18 power-play points.

He then scored five points (two goals, three assists) in 11 Stanley Cup Playoff games for Carolina (36-12-8), which was the No. 1 seed in the Discover Central Division but lost in the Stanley Cup Second Round in five games to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

“I really enjoy it here,” Hamilton said in June. “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.”

On Friday, the Hurricanes traded defenseman Jake Bean to the Columbus Blue Jackets for a second-round pick (No. 44) in the 2021 NHL Draft. The 23-year-old defenseman scored 12 points (one goal, 11 assists) in 42 games as a rookie this season.

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