Carolina Hurricanes are facing major issues ahead of their Stanley Cup Qualifiers against New York Rangers. Their All-Star defenseman Dougie Hamilton missed the practice on Thursday and is “unfit to play at this moment” according to Carolina’s head coach Rod Brind’Amour.
Hamilton dealt with a broken foot since January but appeared ready for action when Hurricanes entered the training camp ahead of NHL 2019/20 season resume. The 27-year-old player was a full participant in trainings for the most part of the camp, but started feeling “visible discomfort” during practice on Wednesday.
“He’s a talented player and very unique on the offensive side of things,” said Brind’Amour during a video call with reporters. “He was certainly missed when he was out for a large portion of the year and he’s a huge part of the offense of our team, so obviously we’re hoping that this isn’t something that’s long term.”
Carolina’s defensive line will be in big trouble if Hamilton can’t play in the best-of-five series against Rangers, as the team is already missing starter Brett Pesce due to a seson-ending surgery. Brind’Amour’s most probable alternatives on the position will be veterans Sami Vatanen and Brady Skjei, who joined Hurricanes ahead of February trade deadline.
Dougie Hamilton had a prolific first part of the season, contributing with 14 goals and 26 assists in just 47 games and earning his first All-Star appereance. Hamilton’s run came to an end in January when he suffered a broken foot and was initially ruled out for the season. However, the break due to coronavirus pandemic enabled him to recover enough to rejoin the team.
Hamilton previously also played with Boston Bruins and Calgary Flames. He has 299 points (93 goals and 206 assists) in 552 career games.