|A national view of Bruins prospects||07.23.12 at 9:57 am ET|
ESPN released its organizational prospect rankings last week (ESPN Insider account required), with the Panthers and revamped Wild taking the No. 1 and 2 spots, respectively. The Bruins were ranked eighth (they were 14th last year), and having an elite NHL-ready blueliner like Dougie Hamilton certainly had a lot to do with that.
Writes Grant Sonier:
The 2012 draft did not yield much for the Bruins, other than highly touted, athletic goaltender Malcolm Subban (Belleville-OHL). Previous drafts, however, should have B’s fans excited as one of their top prospects has really matured well. D-man Dougie Hamilton (Niagara-OHL) will have a chance to play big minutes and should turn heads in camp this fall. Forward depth is among Boston’s assets in the form of Jared Knight (London-OHL), Alexander Khokhlachev (Windsor-OHL) and Ryan Spooner (Sarnia-OHL).
Sleeper Prospect: Tyler Randell, RW, (Kitchener-OHL/Providence-AHL) (sixth round/2009) I like his combination of size, grit and skill. His skating is on the upward swing and he shows potential.
To clarify, Kohkhlachev will play next season in the KHL, not OHL, and we’ll add another potential sleeper in 2011 third-round pick Anthony Camara. The Barrie Colts forward is tough as nails and has added some offense to his game over the last season, scoring 16 goals in 2011-12 after totaling eight in his draft year.
For a sense of where the Northeast Division stands, the Canadiens were ranked third, the Sabres were 12th, the Senators were 14th and the Maple Leafs were 22nd.
|Bruins add more defensive depth, sign Aaron Johnson||07.18.12 at 2:25 pm ET|
The Bruins have signed defenseman Aaron Johnson to a one-year, two-way contract.
Johnson, 29, played 56 games for the Blue Jackets last year, registering three goals and 16 assists for a career-best 19 points. He had a minus-12 rating.
Johnson has bounced around in the league since being drafted by Columbus in 2001, as he played in the Islanders, Blackhawks, Oilers, Predators and Flames organizations before returning to the Blue Jackets last season.
The former third-round pick played the entire 2010-11 season in the AHL for the Milwaukee Admirals, notching nine goals and 26 assists for 35 points and 70 penalty minutes. He had a plus-10 rating in the AHL in 2010-11.
The fact that the Bruins have now signed a few fringe-NHL blueliners in Johnson, Garnet Exelby and brought back Matt Bartkowski without signing any true top-6 defensemen suggests that the team is indeed expecting Dougie Hamilton to make the team next season. Any one of the aforementioned three signings could serve as a seventh defenseman at the NHL level.
|Ryan Spooner shines as Bruins prospects wrap up development camp||07.02.12 at 2:41 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins’ sixth annual development camp is in the books, as the B’s prospects finished the six-day camp with a power skating session and a scrimmage Monday at Ristuccia Arena.
Forward Ryan Spooner was the star of the day, scoring two goals for the white team in the black and white scrimmage. Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli called Spooner “one of the usual suspects” when it comes to players pushing for an NHL job this season along with fellow 2010 second-round pick Jared Knight and defenseman Dougie Hamilton. Both Knight and Spooner will head to the AHL if they don’t make the team out of camp, as they finished their junior careers last season in the OHL.
More to come from camp.
|Dougie Hamilton breaks down Malcolm Subban the defenseman||06.28.12 at 2:00 pm ET|
WILMINGTON – Dougie Hamilton and Malcolm Subban will be connected by their shared status as top picks of the Bruins. Think of them as the Tyler Seguin and Joe Colborne — two high-profile players taking part in 2010′s development camp — of this year. Unlike Seguin and Colborne, Hamilton and Subban’s connection goes a lot farther back.
Though they’ve only been the same organization for less than a week, Hamilton and Subban have shared the same ice since they were kids. As young players growing up in Ontario, the two often played against each other — both as defensemen, as Subban didn’t start playing goalie until he was 12. Since then, they’ve been OHL opponents, with Hamilton being a star player for the Niagara IceDogs and Subban between the pipes for the Belleville Bulls.
“I grew up always playing against him,” Hamilton said Thursday of Subban. “We were always in the same league, and we were talking [Wednesday] about the days when we were both defensemen. I still remember, we were both rushing defensemen, and in those games it was me and him.
“He probably could be here as a defenseman too, but he’s obviously a pretty good goalie, so it’s definitely fun to have him here.”
Given that both players have older brothers — Freddie Hamilton (Sharks) and P.K. Subban (Canadiens) — their parents even became friends from “always seeing each other at the rink,” according to Hamilton.
On the ice Thursday, Hamilton and Subban could be seen chatting from time to time, including during stretches in a photo-opportunistic scene in which the Bruins’ last two first-round picks grinned as they conversed.
For as long as they’ve known each other, Hamilton has known Subban’s talent, regardless of which position earned him his status as a first-round pick.
“As a D, he was pretty fast,” Hamilton said of the now netminding Subban. “He could skate and pretty much do everything. As a goalie, I haven’t seen him too much, but I know he’s pretty athletic and can make pretty spectacular saves and the easy ones as well. I’m excited to be here with him.”
|Notes from Day 1 of development camp||at 12:52 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins have wrapped up the first day of their development camp, with media availability finishing up just after 12:30 p.m. Here are some quick notes from the first day:
- The Bruins wouldn’t divulge the specifics on Alexander Khokhlachev’s situation. The 18-year-old forward for Windsor of the OHL is rumored to be headed for the KHL next season, but assistant general manager Don Sweeney said “those things aren’t set in stone.” Khokhlachev will speak Friday, while Peter Chiarelli is expected to eventually update the media on the 2011 second-round pick’s situation. Regardless of Khokhlachev’s plans for next season, Sweeney said he will be at training camp in September.
- Dougie Hamilton has added some bulk, and though he said he has gotten bigger since last season, neither he nor the Bruins said his exact weight (he finished the OHL season at 198 pounds). Hamilton said, “depending on the scale right now, 205 to 200.” Sweeney noted Hamilton will be bigger for training camp.
- Something you probably wouldn’t ever expect in Boston until last week: As the players got off the ice, there was a “Subban! Subban!” chant. It was for first-round pick Malcolm Subban, of course. Subban was one of six goalies in attendance.
- The distinction of most interesting goalie mask goes to Adam Morrison, who has the likes of Mr. Burns from The Simpsons and Doug and Bob McKenzie from SCTV on his mask.
- The only player on the camp roster not in attendance was forward Alexander Fallstrom, who is injured.
|Bruins kick off development camp||at 11:07 am ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins opened their sixth annual development camp Thursday, as the team’s top prospects and other youngsters took the ice at Ristuccia Arena.
Among the players in attendance are Dougie Hamilton, Malcolm Subban, Alexander Khokhlachev, Ryan Spooner and Jared Knight. For the complete roster, click here. For some things to keep an eye on throughout the five-day camp, click here.
|Dougie Hamilton is bulking up… and coming to Boston?||06.26.12 at 3:27 pm ET|
The Bruins just may be adding another giant to their blueline this season.
Niagara IceDogs (OHL) general manager and head coach Marty Williamson told WEEI.com Tuesday that the team is not expecting to have defenseman Dougie Hamilton back next season. Hamilton, the Bruins’ ninth overall pick in the 2011 draft, had 17 goals and 55 assists for 72 points in 50 games for the IceDogs while playing between 25-28 minutes a night and occasionally logging more than 30 minutes a game.
Junior-aged played (under 20 years old; Hamilton turned 19 this month) can play up to nine games with their NHL team and be sent back to their junior team without a year being burned off their entry-level deal, but Williamson thinks Hamilton, who will headline this week’s development camp, will have a much longer stay in Boston than that.
“He’s NHL-ready. I would not expect him back,” Williamson said. “I know Boston’s on a different program than some teams — they’re winning every year — and maybe that would factor in or something, but I think he’s definitely going to start with them. We’ll see how his NHL career starts, but I sure don’t anticipate him being back.”
Hamilton had 12 goals and 46 assists for 58 points in his draft year in 2010-11, but topped those numbers in 17 less games (he was suspended 10 games for an elbow to the head). Though Hamilton was already elite entering the season, Williamson said his 2011-12 performance was on another level.
“Just a lot of growth in his game,” the coach said of what Hamilton brought. “His decision-making, he really started to use his body with his size and strength to win battles. The year before he was a little more kind reckless to some extent, and he always used his stick, and now he’s really starting to use that body. He was the top defenseman in Canada in the CHL awards, and he did everything for us.”
One area of focus for the 6-foot-4 defenseman has been the process of filling out his frame. He began the season at 193 pounds but was able to finish the season at 198 pounds, with the coach saying that he’s understanding his frame more and “playing a big game.” Williamson noted that it’s easier to add pounds when one isn’t playing every day, and that he would expect Hamilton to be “damn close to that 205, 210″ pounds by the time training camp opens in September.
Williamson used Erik Gudbranson, the player the Panther’s chose third overall in the 2010 draft (after Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin were drafted) to back up his point. The 6-foot-5, 210-pound Gudbranson played 72 games last season as a rookie for Florida, putting up eight points (two goals, six assists).
“[Hamilton]‘s tall and lean, but he’s very strong. I even think that at 200 pounds, he’ll be fine [in the NHL],” Williamson said. “When you look at a Gudbranson last year, he really wasn’t much more than that. Gudbranon’s a good, safe defenseman. I think Dougie’s got a lot more range to his game, that’s why I think he’ll be able to make that transition.
Hamilton was the 2011-12 recipient of the Max Kaminsky Trophy for the OHL’s most outstanding defenseman of the year and was one of the league’s top statistical offensive performers despite missing 18 games. While Williamson doesn’t think the Bruins expect him to run the power play right away, there is enough that he’ll bring to the table in his rookie year.
“I think there’s a growing period with him,” Williamson said. “I think he can be a very safe defenseman right off the bat. I was recently at a coaching seminar at the draft and [Bruins coaches] Geoff Ward and [Doug] Jarvis were there, and I think those are the expectations.
“I really don’t think he’s stepping in as the [power-play] quarterback kind of guy right off the bat. I think he’s a couple years away from that at the NHL level, but I think he can take up minutes, I think he can be safe in his own zone. I think he can add offense. If there’s an area where he’s still got a little bit of growth, it’s probably as that quarterback. I think the rest of his game is pretty solid, but I still think he’s got a little bit of growth. He’s got a good shot, but not maybe a pro, pro shot for a top-unit power play. I think there’s some growth there, that he’ll still develop.”
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