Hamilton undergoes successful surgery, Canes adjust to loss of All-Star defenseman

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Friday, January 17, 2020
Canes adjust for loss of Dougie Hamilton
Canes adjust for loss of Dougie Hamilton.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton underwent successful surgery to repair a fractured fibula in his left leg on Friday afternoon.

Hamilton is out indefinitely.

"That's a huge loss," said head coach Rod Brind'Amour. "He's arguably our number one guy on everything. He plays on every situation and we count on him quite a bit. It's a big loss but all teams go through this at some point. We will see how we respond."

Brind'Amour said the injury is very similar to what Jordan Staal had in 2014.

"It's tough," Brind'Amour added. "There's really nothing you can say other than the fact that a lot of guys have come back from injuries like this. You always try to look to the future on it and at some point, he will be healthy and back to normal."

Hamilton, 26, has tallied 40 points (14 goals, 26 assists) in 47 NHL games this season. Among all NHL defenseman, he ranks tied for second in goals, fourth in points and tied for seventh in assists. He ranks second among all NHL skaters in plus/minus rating (+30) and has posted a career-high average time on ice this season (23:17), leading all Hurricanes skaters.

Before his injury, the 6-foot-6, 227-pound defenseman was named to the 2020 NHL All-Star Game in St. Louis on Jan. 25.

READ MORE: Armstrong: Hamilton the player Canes can least afford to lose

"When you see a guy do all of the things he can do and was able to do right out of the gate, you're always hoping, OK, there's another level and you can tap into that. You have something really special," Brind'Amour said. "Give him a lot of credit; he dug in and he molded his game. It's an unfortunate injury. I'm sure he'll be back at some point whether it's this year or next year and good as new."

Brind'Amour said that there won't necessarily be a solid pairing on defense replacing Hamilton right away. He anticipates there will be a lot of mix and match right now.

With the All-Star break right around the corner, the temporary plan will be to see how much Jaccob Slavin and Brett Pesce can handle on their own.

"I think that's not what we want to do but there's a good chance that may happen," Brind'Amour said. "Regardless I think of the bye week. We want to get our best guys out there. If they can handle the minutes then you'll probably see that."

Brind'Amour said Slavin and Pesce will both likely see increased offensive minutes in certain roles.

"Nobody is going to be able to pick up the slack that way. Dougie, that's his thing," he said. "That's one of the things he does really well. We're going to need to pick it up in other areas. In the details and other parts of the game is where we are going to have to pick it up."

Hamilton, a key contributor on the power play, will be missed in multiple areas. Brind'Amour said since they did not practice Friday, he didn't want to shake it up too much.

"There are a lot of options to try going forward," he said. "I envision quite a few different things going on there."

"That's a brother in there," Brind'Amour responded when asked about the mood of the locker room. "We all know how much he means to us. He's been a real good team player inside that locker room. The stuff you see on the ice is a huge loss, but there's another aspect that we're going to miss with Dougie. It's good that we actually get a game right away to go out there, and we'll see what we got."

Hamilton's injury does not affect the timetable of Justin Williams' return.

"We had a plan with him and that's not changing," said Brind'Amour. "It may be a little different if that was a forward but it's not."