Day one of the NHL Draft brought a LOT of rumors and speculation that didn’t come to fruition. That is, unless you count the Colorado-Washington trade as a big one, which I don’t. Saturday, however, was a much different story for Canes and Flames fans. Here’s my account of how the Dougie Hamilton trade went down, what the Canes are risking, and what the local team is likely to gain from this move.

The 328 Draft crew took our seats in the American Airlines Center Saturday morning with a great view of the Carolina Hurricanes draft table. Seeing GM Voltron in action was fun, but as luck would have it, their table was right next to Calgary’s.

I’m sure that wasn’t awkward for Bill Peters in his tan suit at all. Throughout the morning, we watched as Don Waddell made the rounds and chatted with the front offices of various teams. However, he spent a majority of his time away from the table locked into conversation with Calgary GM Brad Treliving. While they may have been discussing dinner plans, it certainly seemed like they were locked into something more consequential.

Since there’s always a lot of these conversations happening at the Draft, and so many other rumors to pick up on, media bigwigs cant throw everything against a wall and see what sticks. However, we were laser focused on watching this one. Please check the timestamp on this tweet:

As we sat and waited for some sort of confirmation from LeBrun, Friedman, McKenzie, and so on, we all began to speculate. Seasons of underwhelming trades conditioned us to think it would be something like Derek Ryan‘s UFA negotiating rights for a conditional 7th round pick in 2022. However, all that changed just after 12:30 with these tweets from (soon to be) Bobby Margs:

As luck would have it, there were two Flames fans sitting in front of our group. Finally, as the details became finalized, all of us Canes fans became increasingly excited, whereas the Calgary contingent appeared as if something awful had just happened to their childhood pet. So there’s some of the emotion and timeline, let’s dive into the trade itself a little more, shall we?

Canes Get:

Dougie Hamilton

Micheal Ferland

Adam Fox

Flames Get:

Noah Hanifin

Elias Lindholm

If you’ve read trade recaps over the years, you know there are plenty of ways to evaluate who got the better end of the deal: who got the best player, who cleared the most cap room, who addressed the biggest need, and so on. First, let’s look at today.

Dougie Hamilton is the best player TODAY in this deal. That’s really not up for debate. He’s a legit top 10-15 defenseman in the league and that’s something this team has maybe never had.

Today, Micheal Ferland brings a level of physicality, net drive, and scoring chances from high danger areas that the Canes have sorely lacked.

Now on the flip side, Carolina is losing a top-4 defenseman who at times was the team’s best blueliner in addition to a versatile top-6 forward in Lindholm. Neither is the impact player that Hamilton is, but they’re still younger and could improve. That said, I think it’s not unreasonable to say that at his ceiling, Hanifin could become the player that Hamilton is already.

Is Lindholm a better overall player than Ferland? Probably. He certainly has the higher ceiling, and will likely post more points in 2018-19. However, his game was a little redundant with the lineup we have now.

Then there’s Adam Fox. In full disclosure, I didn’t know who he is when the trade was announced. Thankfully, being around a lot of smart hockey people at the draft quickly brought me up to speed. Word from people very much in the know say he’s immediately our best defensive prospect. He’s a point-per-game player in college… as a defenseman. That’s… absurd. Additionally, he’s helped the US win gold at the World Juniors, is at least competent in his own end and described as an assist wizard.

All in all, I believe the Canes are a better team this season because of this trade. I truly believe Hanifin can be a hell of a player in the league, and it hurts to lose him, but… y’all… Dougie Hamilton is a Hurricane. We should all be very excited about this.