The rumours surrounding Hamilton are a bit confusing considering what the Hurricanes gave up to acquire him. Maybe this has more to do with their desire to add offence and wanting to use an asset to get it done.
Hamilton checks off many boxes Babcock would love to have on his blueline; size, skill and a great fit on the power play. There have been defencemen like Alex Pietrangelo and Colton Parayko who would be the best options, but it doesn’t look like the St. Louis Blues are going to be sellers so you can scratch those names.
The thing we know about Hamilton is that he is available and the Leafs have been heavily scouting Carolina, so there would be a familiarity if that’s one of the players the Toronto scouts have been looking at. An important thing here is that he’s under contract until the end of the 2020-21 season at $5.75 million, which is a decent cap hit for what he brings.
Again, the tough part is determining what the Hurricanes want. Similar to Pesce, Carolina wants scoring but which player does the team value more? It should be Hamilton because of his offensive upside, so again the Leafs could find themselves ponying up some big assets starting with a scoring winger like Kapanen or Johnsson and more.