Archive for June, 2011

Teach me about Dougie: A look at Bruins’ draft pick Dougie Hamilton

Friday, June 24th, 2011

While you may not see him in Boston next season, the Bruins have added what they hope is a major piece of their future in Dougie Hamilton. The Niagara (OHL) defenseman wasn’t expected to be on the board at the ninth overall pick, but the B’s were able to snatch up the big defenseman, ranked as the fourth-best North American skater in the draft. One reason for his drop is the fact that despite the fact that this draft was widely considered to boast more defensive talent up top, only one other defenseman (Adam Larsson) was selected before the B’s were on the board.

So who is Dougie Hamilton? The 18-year-old described himself as a physical, capable defenseman and a “sneaky offensive player.” He played in for Niagara with his brother, Freddie, who was a fifth-round pick of the Sharks in the 2010 draft.

Hamilton compares himself to Jay Bouwmeester, Brent Burns and Rob Blake. Here are his measurables and statistics:

Date of birth: June 17, 1993                                              Height: 6-foot-4

Weight: 187 pounds                                                            Shoots: Right

2010-11 stats: 67 games, 12 G, 46 A, 58 P, 77 PIM

Here’s a nice getting-to-know-you video from Open Ice Hockey:

Here’s what IceDogs coach Marty Williamson told NHL.com about Hamilton as part of the blueliner’s scouting report:

“Especially at this level, you find guys that are awkward or don’t have a lot of explosion. You’re 6-foot-4, you don’t have a lot of explosion (but) the jump off his skates is phenomenal. When he sees those opportunities to jump into the rush or lead the rush, I really believe it’s untapped what he can do. He’s a very special defenseman in our league. He just has to understand the details and he’s going to be a very good pro . . . Dougie gets himself very prepared for hockey games. He’s very diligent preparing himself. He goes about it very business-like. He’s mature beyond his years.”

Chris Edwards of Central Scouting likes Hamilton’s size, strength and puck-moving ability. Here’s what he had to say on NHL.com:

“He moves the puck well and makes good outlet passes, he does make good decisions with the puck, moves it very well out of his zone. He’s a big guy, he’ll take the body. … He uses his size well. He can muscle people off the puck.”

And here’s a look at one of Hamilton’s 12 goals last season:

All the Bruins love him: Dougie Hamilton the ninth pick

Friday, June 24th, 2011

Dougie Hamilton was expected to go earlier than where the B's got him. (CHL Photo)

The Bruins selected Niagara Ice Dogs defenseman Dougie Hamilton with the ninth overall pick in Friday’s NHL draft. Hamilton was rated the fourth-best North American skater in the draft by the NHL Central Scouting Bureau.

At 6-foot-4 and 187 pounds, Hamilton is considered a strong defenseman with good puck-moving ability. In 67 OHL games this past season, Hamilton had 12 goals and 46 assists for 58 points. He had a plus-35 rating and racked up 77 penalty minutes.

After making the choice, B’s general manager Peter Chiarelli appeared on VS. and described Hamilton as a “big strong kid with good offensive instinct.” Hamilton becomes the first defenseman drafted by the Bruins in the first round under Chiarelli.

The selection closes the book on 2009′s trade between the Bruins and Maple Leafs that sent Phil Kessel to Toronto in exchange for two first-round picks and a second-rounder. The Bruins ended up with Tyler Seguin, Jared Knight and Hamilton.

After the selection was made, Knight, who played against Hamilton while the two were in the OHL, tweeted “congrats to [Hamilton]… Great player… One defensemen I hated to play against.”

Peter Chiarelli says Bruins have qualified Brad Marchand

Friday, June 24th, 2011

Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli told reporters in Minnesota Friday that the team has qualified restricted free agent Brad Marchand, meaning the team has retained negotiating rights with the 23-year-old and can match any offer sheet that another club may sign him to.

Should Marchand sign an offer sheet with another team, the Bruins will have seven days to either keep Marchand under those terms or see him walk. The Bruins would receive draft pick compensation if they were to lose Marchand, but given his importance to the club and how much cap space the B’s have, the chances of him not returning are extremely slim.

As a rookie Marchand scored 21 goals and 20 assists for 40 points in the regular season. He scored 11 goals in the playoffs, including two in the Bruins’ Game 7 win over the Canucks in the Stanley Cup finals.

Bruins year in review: Unsung hero

Friday, June 24th, 2011

Each day this week, WEEI.com will be taking a look back at the Bruins’ historic 2010-11 Stanley Cup Championship season. So far, we’ve looked at the goal of the year, fight of the yearsave of the year and top rookie. Up today is the Bruins’ rookie of the year, a no-brainer for anyone who followed the championship season.

UNSUNG HERO

Andrew Ference: 70 GP, 3 G, 12 A, 15 P, +22 (regular season)
25 GP, 4 G, 6 A, 10 P

Andrew Ference made a difference as the Bruins' No. 3 defenseman. (AP)

“He’s been very, very consistent, if not the most consistent defenseman we’ve had all season. He’s been solid every time he’s been on the ice. He never gives up any soft goals. He’s been unbelievable for us, and a real workhorse.”

- Dennis Seidenberg, May 19

There was no questioning who the Bruins’ most important player was during their Stanley Cup run, as Tim Thomas was outstanding for the B’s. Next on the list of key performers would probably be either Zdeno Chara or Dennis Seidenberg, as those two formed the shutdown pair that nobody could beat.

Yet while all of the praise rightfully went to the goaltender and the No. 1 pairing, Andrew Ference was continuing his solid season that saw him earn every dime of his $2.25 million cap hit.

Ference was never Chara-like, nor did he have to log the type of minutes Seidenberg did, but at the end of the day, what Ference brought was something the Bruins needed. It was hard to say with confidence going into the season who the Bruins’ No. 3 defenseman was, and just how good he’d be. Ference answered that by staying healthy (for the most part) and giving the Bruins a splendid No. 3 D man.

Were there low points with Ference? Absolutely. The game-winning play for the Canucks in overtime of Game 2 started with Ference, and him flipping off the Montreal crowd was an avoidable headache. At the end of the day, Ference was huge for the B’s, even if he didn’t get credit for it.

HONORABLE MENTION: Claude Julien, Shawn Thornton

What will the Bruins do with the ninth pick?

Friday, June 24th, 2011

As the world continues to have a laugh over pictures of Brad Marchand and the Bruins’ bar tab (did you hear they had a $100,000 bottle of champagne?) to the point where the dead horse couldn’t possibly take another blow, the Stanley Cup champions are getting ready to add a potential franchise player.

Will Peter Chiarelli land another star in the making? (AP)

The B’s will pick ninth overall in Friday’s NHL draft, finally closing the book on the Phil Kessel trade as they add one of the top players in a draft widely considered to be a notch below that of last year’s. Given that Toronto’s selection is slotted ninth, it’s safe to say the B’s will add one Central Scoutings’ highest-rated players.

Here are the top 15 skaters in this year’s draft accoriding to Central Scouting.

1. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, C, Red Deer (WHL)
2. Gabriel Landeskog, LW, Kitchener (OHL)
3. Jonathan Huberdeau, C, Saint John (QMJHL)
4. Dougie Hamilton, D, Niagara (OHL)
5. Nathan Beaulieu, D, Saint John (QMJHL)
6. Sean Couturier, C, Drummondville (QMJHL)
7. Sven Baertschi, LW, Portland (WHL)
8. Ryan Strome, C, Niagara (OHL)
9. Ryan Murphy, D, Kitchener (OHL)
10. Duncan Siemens, D, Saskatoon (WHL)
11. Vladislav Namestnikov, C, London (OHL)
12. Joseph Morrow, D, Portland (WHL)
13. Jamieson Oleksiak, D, Northeastern (Hockey East)
14. Mark McNeill, C, Prince Albert (WHL)
15. Zack Phillips, C, Saint John (QMJHL)

And the top five European skaters:

1. Adam Larsson, D, Skelleftea (Sweden)
2. Mika Zibanejad, C, Djurgarden (Sweden)
3. Jonas Brodin, D, Farjestad (Sweden)
4. Joel Armia, RW, Assat (Finland)
5. Dmitrij Jaskin, RW, Slavia (Czech Republic)

Of course, Central Scouting isn’t everything, as we saw last year. The top-ranked player (Tyler Seguin) went second overall, and it looks like the Hurricanes weren’t crazy when they drafted the 34th-ranked North American skater (Jeff Skinner) seventh overall.

Whoever the Bruins take with the ninth pick (assuming, as Peter Chiarelli indicated Thursday, they stay put), don’t expect him to be in Boston next season. Chiarelli told reporters in Minnesota that based on the players he expected to be on the board at No. 9, the player the B’s select will not be NHL ready. That means bad news for Seguin, who jokingly expressed hope on breakup day that someone else could be “the kid” next season and that everyone would be on the draft pick’s case instead of his.

Chiarelli said his intention is to draft the best available player, and given that this draft is top-heavy when it comes to defense, that player may be a blueliner. Picking defense would give the B’s a blue-chipper in an area in which it organizationally does not have a sure-fire star in the making, and it would also be somewhat of a deviation for Chiarelli. The highest the Bruins’ GM has selected a defenseman was 35th overall, when the B’s traded up in the second round to grab Tommy Cross 35th overall.

If the B’s spend the ninth pick on a defenseman, you can bet your bippy the Tomas Kaberle rumors will swirl, and there will obviously be two easy arguments. If the team has a young puck-mover (we’ll get to the players below) with star potential a year or two away, perhaps they could try to go with Steven Kampfer next season (and beyond) and let Kaberle walk. On the other hand, the Bruins happen to have just won the Stanley Cup, and the Vezina winner isn’t getting any younger. There isn’t much of a window closing for the Bruins given that they are good and young both offensively and behind Tim Thomas (remember Tuukka Rask?), but they certainly want to win now.

With all that being said, here are some of the guys who have been common Bruins’ selections in mock drafts and/or might make sense for the B’s at No. 9:

Ryan Murphy, D, Kitchener (OHL)
Height/weight: 5-foot-10, 166 pounds
2010-11 stats: 63 games, 26 G, 53 A, 79 P, 36 PIM

An offensive-minded defenseman, Murphy’s 26 goals were the most among OHL blueliners this past season. Considered a plus-skater and strong passer, he could eventually offer more than the Bruins are currently getting out of Kaberle on the power play. The Bruins certainly showed in the Kaberle deal that a defenseman who can help the offense is a priority, so landing one for the long term would be a wise move if Murphy is still on the board. Given that he’s ranked 9th by Central Scouting among North American skaters, it could be close. Murphy is also a right-handed shot. The Bruins’ blue line was lefty-dominant last season, with Johnny Boychuk and Adam McQuaid (and, at points, Kampfer) the only righty defensemen in the lineup.

Nathan Beaulieu, D, Saint John (QMJHL)
Height/weight: 6-foot-2, 174 pounds
2010-11 stats: 65 games, 12 G, 33 A, 45 P, 52 PIM

Beaulieu is another strong-skating defenseman, though his speed won’t get confused with that of Murphy. He still brings an impressive offensive skill set to the blue line, and he certainly offers more size than Murphy. He would most certainly be the puck-moving defenseman of the future if the B’s were to select him.

Ryan Strome, C, Niagara (OHL)
Height/weight: 6-foot-0, 175 pounds
2010-11 stats: 65 games, 33 G, 73 A, 106 P, 82 PIM

Another center? With the Bruins, you never know. You have to figure that Seguin will eventually become a full-time center once he’s done being eased in, but there are enough question marks in the future to make selecting a center not seem so crazy. Excluding Marc Savard given all the uncertainty, Patrice Bergeron and Seguin are the only pivots signed past next season (David Krejci will be a restricted free agent, while Chris Kelly and Gregory Campbell will be unrestricted).

Duncan Siemens, D, Saskatoon (WHL)
Height/weight: 6-foor-2, 192 pounds
2010-11 stats: 72 games, 5 G, 38 A, 43 P, 121 PIM

The bulkiest of the blueliners featured in this sample, many things you read about about Siemens will suggest he’s behind some of the other defensemen in this draft as far as both development and potential go. Still, he’s strong, and though he doesn’t bring the same bells and whistles that guys like Murphy and Beaulieu do, he could still be a welcome presence on Claude Julien’s blue line eventually.

Peter Chiarelli doesn’t expect ‘magic’ in draft

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said Thursday in Minnesota that he does not expect the team to do anything crazy movement-wise with the ninth overall pick in Friday’s draft. The team holds a top-10 pick for the second consecutive year thanks to the Phil Kessel trade. After selecting Tyler Seguin a season ago with the second overall pick, Chiarelli said he doesn’t envision the team picking that high again.

“I don’t think there will be any magic for us tomorrow,” Chiarelli said. “We’re picking nine, I’d say there’s, maybe after three or four, there’s a real good group of another eight, and there’s a good batch of defenseman, there’s a good batch of wingers and there’s a good batch of centermen. So we’re pretty content where we are and we’ll see where it goes. Oftentimes, players that you have ranked below your group go in and really good players drop and go last.”

Chiarelli said he doesn’t expect the player they take with the ninth pick to crack the lineup as a rookie, but noted that there’s always the possibility that an NHL-ready prospect could fall, a la Cam Fowler a season ago.

“You never say never about a player being able to play that’s drafted that low,” he said. “My guess is [the player won't make the team], to say no, just my knowledge of the players that I think will be available. There may be one that can play that may drop to us but that’s, you know, that would be a huge bonus and it’s just more about getting the right player and starting to develop him.”

The Bruins also have a high second-round pick, as they’ll choose 40th overall with Minnesota’s selection.

“I think it’s a fairly deep draft,” Chiarelli said. “… There’s no definitive number one and that runs deep through the first five or six I think. And you know I’d say it’s a good round and a half as far as guys that you’re excited to get these players, guys that you really feel strong with playing and maybe turning into something. I think it’s a good round and a half.”

The Bruins’ GM has spoken to the agent for Tomas Kaberle, but has not spoken with Michael Ryder’s agent. Kaberle and Ryder are both unrestricted free agents. He did confirm that Tuukka Rask will be getting knee surgery and that Milan Lucic will have his nose reset this offseason.

Report: Tuukka Rask, Milan Lucic set for surgery

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

According to a pair of tweets from the Boston Globe’s Kevin Paul Dupont, Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask and forward Milan Lucic are set to have offseason surgery. Rask is expected to have minor knee surgery to clean up an cartilage issue that had plagued the second-year player throughout the team’s championship season, while Dupont tweets that Lucic will have nose surgery.

Lucic played late in the season and into the playoffs dealing with a sinus infection. He then broke his toe when a Tyler Seguin slapshot went off his foot in practice during the Eastern Conference finals. After leading the B’s with 30 goals in the regular season, Lucic finished tied for fifth on the team with five playoff goals.

Rask, who led the NHL with a 1.97 goals against average and a .931 save percentage in the 2009-10 season (his rookie campaign), lost the starting job to Tim Thomas this past season. In 29 games (27 starts), he went 11-14-2 with a 2.67 GAA and .918 save percentage.