When the Hurricanes picked up Jeff Hamilton last week, the general feeling shared by most Caniacs was "Who?!?!". We were mostly hoping for a guy like Todd White, with a more recognizable name.
After looking at his numbers, you couldn't help but be impressed. 18 goals and 21 assists for a guy mostly playing on the third line. The Blackhawks had some injury issues which forced Hamilton onto the second line, but his TOI average was just under 13:00.
High output with limited opportunity. I like that. I've mentioned it before, but I also like his quickness, his nose for the net, and his puckhandling ability. And he's quite good on the shootout. Carolina went to shootout six times last year. Out of 17 attempts, they only succeeded once. Once. Obviously, they didn't win any of those shootouts. Jeff Hamilton had ten shootout opportunities, and he succeeded five times. This is one of the things Carolina missed from Matt Cullen. In 2006, Cully went to bat nine times in the shootout and "scored" six times, including two game deciding goals.
According to this nifty thing, there were 70 hat tricks in the NHL last season. Jeff Hamilton had two of them.
Jeff Hamilton isn't Matt Cullen, but he's damn close. Hamilton is a little younger, but Cullen has several years of NHL experience, while Hamilton has just the one. Cullen has routinely reached the 40 point plateau. In Hamilton's only full season, he sniffed 40. We don't know whether Hamilton played over his head last year, or whether he's just a late bloomer. We're certainly hoping that it's the latter.
For your viewing pleasure, please enjoy this YouTube clip of Jeff Hamilton's highlights from 2006-07. It was posted three months ago, and the author of the video made the eerily prophetic decision to use "Rock You Like a Hurricane" by Scorpions as the music.
3 years ago