Hamilton signed a US$34.5-million, six-year deal Tuesday with the Flames that adds him to one of the NHL's best blue lines. He'll carry a cap hit of $5.75 million, which could be an unbelievable value as he develops in the NHL.
"I think there's still tremendous upside. He's just scratching the surface of where he can go," Flames GM Brad Treliving said on a conference call. "I'm real happy that we've got him under contract for six years and part of our core moving forward."
The Flames sent the 15th, 42nd and 57th picks in this NHL draft this past weekend to the Bruins on Friday for Hamilton's restricted-free-agent rights.
That looked like a major coup for a 22-year-old defenceman Calgary knew it wouldn't have been able to get with its first-round pick. Hamilton is coming off career highs in goals (10), assists (32) and points (42).
Sweeney seemed to indicate at the draft that Hamilton didn't want to sign with the Bruins. The Toronto native brushed that off and any criticism of his character that came out of Boston since the trade.
"I'm just going to keep on saying how excited I am to be a Flame and looking forward to the future and everything," Hamilton said. "What's in the past is in the past, and I think I'm just looking forward to being a Flame to moving to Calgary and seeing the city and the fans."
Treliving blasted the "crap" written about Hamilton as a person and added that his character is not a concern.
"There has not been an ounce of or a calorie wasted in terms of worrying about the player," Treliving said. "Everybody we've talked to, he's an excellent teammate, he's a bright young man and he is going to be a model citizen for our organization."
Hamilton joins a defence corps that includes captain Mark Giordano, T.J. Brodie, Kris Russell, Dennis Wideman, Deryk Engelland and Ladislav Smid. Treliving said he'll defer to Jack Adams Award-winning coach Bob Hartley to figure out where he fits.
"I haven't been able to wipe a smile off Bob's face since Friday," Treliving said.
Hamilton's $5.75-million cap hit is now highest on the Flames but shouldn't be for long. Treliving said the club is working on an extension with Giordano that should keep the 31-year-old captain around for a while.
Hamilton already looks up to Giordano.
"Getting older I want to be more of a leader, but that's something that will come in time, and I'm learning from certain players," Hamilton said. "Looking at Calgary there's someone like Giordano will be a great role model for me. I'll be able to watch him play and watch him off the ice and learn from him."
Hamilton, a Toronto native, was the ninth pick in 2011, which the Bruins got from the Maple Leafs in the Phil Kessel trade. That deal was made by Brian Burke, who's now president of the Flames.
Note — The Flames extended the contracts of assistant general manager Craig Conroy, associate coach Jacques Cloutier and assistant coaches Martin Gelinas and Jamie Pringle.
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