WILMINGTON — It hasn’t been long since we last saw ninth overall pick Dougie Hamilton, but the young defenseman made sure that his second impression on Ristuccia Arena was different.
Hamilton, 18, worked to address the area he’s been asked about non-stop since he was selected by the Bruins in June: his weight. The Niagara Ice Dog added six pounds since July’s development camp, weighing in at 194 pounds on Friday as rookie camp opened for the Bruins.
“I’ve gained a couple pounds, and I’m the same height,” the 6-foot-5 Hamilton said. “It’s something that I’m kind of focusing on and working on, so I’m pretty happy.”
Players generally don’t need to note where they stand height-wise, but Hamilton was still growing when he was last in town. Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli noted over summer that Hamilton had grown between a quarter of an inch and half an inch from the end of the season to development camp.
Wherever Hamilton is size-wise these days, it likely won’t be the same when he becomes an NHL  regular, which is more likely to happen later rather than sooner. The common line of thinking is that he’ll need another year in the OHL to bulk up and polish his skill set, with Chiarelli saying in July that 210 pounds would be a “great” playing weight for Hamilton.
For now, the Bruins are simply pleased with the progress Hamilton has been able to make in such a short period of time, as was discussed by assistant general manager Jim Benning after Friday’s double-session.
“He looked real good today, I thought. He’s skating well,” Benning said of Hamilton. “From the summer, he weighed in at 188. He was 194 today, so he put on five, six pounds of muscle. He’s a young player and he’ll continue to get stronger and bigger. He’s going to be a good player. It’s just going to be a matter of time with him.”
Hamilton seems to understand what “matter of time” means, but he isn’t entering camp thinking he’s a sure thing to return to the OHL. After using development camp as a getting-to-know-you period, Hamilton wants to use rookie camp to show the Bruins that even if he doesn’t make the team this year, he’ll be a force to be reckoned with some day.
“I just want to come in and play my best. Obviously there’s a lot of good d-men [on the NHL  roster], but I think I’m just going to show my stuff and what I can do,” Hamilton said. “Whatever they want to do with me, that’s what I’ll do.”