Jeff Hamilton is returning to Chicago! The Chicago Wolves that is. The right wing signed a deal with the AHL affiliate of the the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday. Terms of the contract were not disclosed but we here at FIW are hoping it is a two-way deal that might see Hamilton playing some NHL time in case of any Hawks' injuries. With the signing, Hamilton joins the defending Calder Cup champions.
If Hamilton does not return to NHL play, thus ends a meteoric rise for the winger that saw himself go from zero to hero (not really) to zero again. An undrafted signing, Hamilton played 14 games for the Blue & Orange between the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons before his relationship with the Islanders was inexplicably derailed. During the 2006-07 season, largely a snoozefest for Chicago, Hammy surprised everyone by notching 39 points (18 goals, 21 assists) on 70 games including two 4+ point efforts (2 hat tricks). The surprising play wowed the execs and scouts in Carolina so much that Hamilton secured a 2 year deal prior to last season. Awe turned to "d'oh" as Hammy underwhelmed the Carolina brass with a meager 24 points (9 goals, 15 assists) on only 58 games with the 'Canes last year. Carolina decided to buy out the remaining season of his contract this offseason. A 142 game NHL "veteran," Hamilton has 71 points on 29 goals and 42 assists including 11 powerplay tallies and 5 game winners.
FIW has been trying to track Hamilton's movement for a while now and today's news comes as a breath of fresh air as we eagerly and impatiently await the start of the 2008-09 season. We wish Jeff the best with the mighty AHL Wolves.