|Dougie Hamilton named OHL defenseman of the month||11.03.11 at 4:11 pm ET|
To the surprise of nobody, Dougie Hamilton, the Bruins’ first-round pick from June’s draft, has been named OHL defenseman of the month for October. The 18-year-old got off to an absolutely ridiculous start to his third season with the Niagara IceDogs, racking up 20 points (seven goals, 13 assists) in 12 games in the first month of the season.
Now 14 games into the season, Hamilton has 23 points (seven goals, 16 assists) on the season. Hamilton caught up with WEEI.com a couple of weeks ago to discuss the blueliner’s impressive start to the season (click here for that piece).
“I’m getting good opportunities,’ Hamilton said. ‘Our power play is doing really well. I think just coming back from camp with extra confidence and playing with those guys makes you better. I think I came back with confidence, and I think I got better over the summer as well. The opportunity, confidence and my development has helped a lot.’
Sarnia winger Nail Yakupov, the top prospect in the coming draft, was named player of the month after compiling 29 points (11 goals, 18 assists) in 13 games. Sorry, Bruins’ fans — the B’s are only on pace for the second-worst record.
|A look at how Bruins prospects are doing in the OHL this season||10.12.11 at 2:47 pm ET|
It’s early on in the OHL season, but here’s a look at how some of the Bruins’ top prospects are doing in juniors. Included below are defenseman Dougie Hamilton (1st round, 2011), and forwards Alexander Khokhlachev (2nd round, 2011), Jared Knight (2nd round, 2010), Ryan Spooner (2nd round, 2010) and Anthony Camara (3rd round, 2011).
Alexander Khokhlachev (Windsor) 7 GP 4 G 8 A 12 PTS
Dougie Hamilton (Niagara) 6 GP 2 G 9 A 11 PTS
Jared Knight (London) 5 GP 4 G 3 A 7 PTS
Anthony Camara (Saginaw) 8 GP 0 G 5 A 5 PTS
Ryan Spooner (Kingston) 7 GP 1 G 2 A 3 PTS
Check out the video below for highlights of Khokhlachev’s four-point night Saturday.
|Patrice Bergeron to youngsters: keep it simple in first game||09.21.11 at 11:44 am ET|
WILMINGTON — When it comes to learning from veterans, the preseason is a time for younger players to be sponges (and for writers to use the sponge clichÃ©). With a couple of youngsters set to play their first preseason games, Patrice Bergeron can offer some advice.
The 26-year-old alternate captain can remember his first first preseason game, which he played as an 18-year-old in Montreal. The Quebec native has fond memories of his first time facing NHL competition, and for the likes of Dougie Hamilton and David Warsofsky, both of whom will play in their first preseason games Wednesday, he has a message.
“Just go out there and play your game,” Bergeron said of what advice he would give the youngsters. “Enjoy it. It only happens once, right? Just go out there and have fun. Keep it simple. There’s a reason why you’re here. Just do your thing.”
Hamilton did his thing by blocking a shot and battling through the rest of his shift in Tuesday’s black and white scrimmage. The real question is, with brother Freddie Hamilton‘s Sharks playing the Ducks, which game will the Hamilton household watch?
|Dougie Hamilton ready for main camp||09.15.11 at 1:11 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — With rookie camp winding down, Bruins prospects have about to day to process what they’ve learned in the past week and figure out how to apply it when main camp officially opens on Friday. For some players, including Jared Knight and Ryan Spooner, it won’t be their first rodeo, but for 2011 ninth overall pick Dougie Hamilton, it will be uncharted territory.
“I think the first skate will be pretty cool,” Hamilton said after Thursday’s rookie practice at Ristuccia Arena. “I don’t really know what to expect. They’re obviously the pro guys, so you want to size yourself up to them and see what they’re like and what you need to do better and what you need to do to become an NHL player like them, so it’s going to be special going out there with them and kind of just learn from them and see what I need to do better.”
Hamilton hasn’t been around enough Bruins veterans to be able to pick their brains for what to expect, but he’s pretty close with someone who’s having a similar experience some 3,200 miles away.
Hamilton’s brother Freddie, a 2010 fifth-round pick of the Sharks, was not invited to main camp with the team last year, but like Dougie is set to wrap up rookie camp and hit the ice with the big boys. Neither figure to make strong pushes to make either team’s NHL roster, but to both be in similar spots in their careers (both played for Niagara of the OHL last year) is something that allows them to share their experiences.
“He’s helped me a lot with everything,” Hamilton said of his brother. “He’s doing [rookie camp] right now and he’s going to main camp. We’re kind of both going through the same thing right now on different coasts, so that’s cool.”
Brother Freddie isn’t the only OHL teammate Hamilton’s chatted with recently. When the Bruins and Islanders played their rookie games earlier this week, Hamilton faced Ice Dogs teammates Ryan Strome and Mitchell Theoret, who are both in rookie with the Islanders. Strome, selected one pick ahead of Hamilton in the draft, netted a pair of goals in Tuesday’s 7-2 Islanders’ win, one of which came off a funny bounce that, with Michael Hutchinson out of the net to play a dump-in, left Strome with an easy goal. Hamilton grinned as recalled telling his OHL teammate not to get too carried away with the tally.
“I don’t think he can brag too much about that one,” Hamilton said. “It’s pretty tough to miss those ones.”
Hamilton seems to be holding his own on the ice in the rookie practices, though his body isn’t yet what it figures to be by the time he reaches the NHL. The team would like the 194-pound Hamilton to add more weight, with the hope that he could end up in the 210 pound area to fill out his 6-foot-5 frame.
The biggest test for any of these players comes in the rookie games, as the game often features a high level of skill that’s yet to be fully polished. Top OHL players are donning NHL jerseys in games for the first time, and making their debuts in NHL arenas.
Hamilton certainly seems like a smart player on the ice, and though the Bruins’ offense never really got going in Tuesday’s game, he certainly knows when to be aggressive and pinch when to stay at the point in the offensive zone. Overall, Hamilton viewed the rookie games as a positive experience, though a different one.
“It’s a lot faster, a lot stronger guys, so you’ve got to step your game up and kind of play up to their level,” Hamilton said. “The guys are bigger and stronger, so it kind of pushes you. You’ve got to try to get your confidence up and be comfortable with that.”
The rookies will practice Friday at TD Garden before most of them, including Hamilton, join the veterans on the ice Saturday.
|Dougie Hamilton brings a few more pounds to rookie camp||09.09.11 at 3:00 pm ET|
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.”
|Dougie Hamilton recalls both times he met Zdeno Chara||07.12.11 at 4:22 pm ET|
A picture that Dougie Hamilton took with one of his idols this past year perhaps best illustrates how much being drafted can change things.
He won’t play in the NHL next season, but if he did, Hamilton would be the second-tallest defenseman on the Bruins. Having gained between a quarter of an inch and half an inch since the end of the season, the ninth overall pick in last month’s draft stands right around 6-foot-5.
Hamilton is used to being one of the taller guys out there, but he’s known since he was drafted that he won’t be the biggest Bruin. The Toronto native has long admired 6-foot-9 defenseman Zdeno Chara, and the prospect met the Stanley Cup champion at the team’s development camp.
“He just said, ‘Hi, I’m Zee.’ I told him congrats, and he said ‘you too,'” recalled an excited Hamilton after camp concluded.
It wasn’t Hamilton’s first time meeting Chara, but the last time the two met, the circumstances were much different.
“I went down to the room after a game this year in Toronto and took a picture with him,” Hamilton said. “I kind of thought about that picture when I met him [at camp]. It’s pretty cool. You’re a fan, and you’re seeing him and taking pictures with him, and a couple months later you’re shaking his hand and could be his teammate one day. It’s definitely cool.”
Perhaps the next time a picture is taken of the two, they’ll both be on the ice at the team’s training camp. When he makes the big club in a year or two, Bruins fans can picture a rather large defensive pairing, should they skate together.
“He makes me feel small,” Hamilton, who needs to add around 20 pounds before he will be at optimal playing weight, said. “I don’t really feel small too often, but he definitely [makes it seem that way].”
Hamilton showed off his skills over the five-day development camp at Ristuccia Arena. He projects to be a top-pairing defenseman when he eventually reaches the NHL. The 18-year-old hopes to weigh between 210 and 220 pounds by then, with general manager Peter Chiarelli saying that 210 pounds “would be great.”
|Dougie Hamilton ready to wait for NHL, but needs weight for NHL||07.07.11 at 5:04 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Ninth overall pick Dougie Hamilton is the second blue-chip NHL draft prospect in as many years to highlight the Bruins’ annual development camp, as he was the star at Ristuccia Arena Thursday, a year after Tyler Seguin came in as the No. 2 overall pick last summer. Unlike Seguin a year ago, Hamilton is not expected to make the NHL roster this season, and figures to head back to Niagara of the OHL for a third season. The Bruins’ defensive group is already more than full, with Steven Kampfer and Matt Bartkowski a likely training camp battle for the seventh spot. Given where the Bruins sit in the NHL and their defensive situation, Hamilton doesn’t figure to be overwhelmed with trying to force his way in.
“I don’t think there’s really any pressure,” Hamilton said Thursday at Ristuccia. “I want to be an NHL player, and I’m working as hard as I can to make that happen. I think whatever the staff wants to do with me, and whatever’s best for my development, I’m happy with that. I just want to be a dominant player in the NHL one day. Whatever it’s going to take is what I want to do.”
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the draft came when the Islanders passed on Hamilton’s service with the fifth overall pick last month. Their selection of Hamilton’s Niagara teammate in center Ryan Strome allowed the defenseman to fall to nine, where the B’s scooped him up with Toronto’s pick.
While joining the Bruins figures to cost him a shot at the NHL next season, their success has proven that he’s joining a team who have used their youngsters the right way.
“I think it just shows how well the staff does with their players,” he said. “If a team doesn’t have good prospects coming up and good players in their system, I guess they’re not doing something right. Boston’s obviously doing something right, and it’s good to be a part of that, and it’s going to be a fun couple of years to develop and become an NHL player.”
Coming off a 58-point season for the IceDogs, the most important for the 6-foot-5 defenseman figures to be weight. Weighing in the 190-pound range, the Toronto native clearly needs to bulk up before he can become the top-pairing blueliner he is projected to one day be.
“For sure [I need to gain weight],” Hamilton said. “I’ve gained a lot of weight this summer, and over the last couple of years I’ve grown so much. It’s kind of been hard to fill out and fill into my body. [There are] some uncoordinated points because of the growth, but right now I’m just trying to stay strong. I guess you don’t really need to be that big if you’re still strong. It would definitely be nice to put on some weight.”
Hamilton says that his target weight is somewhere in the neighborhood of 210-220 pounds.
“It’s kind of cool for me thinking about that,” Hamilton added, “just because it would allow me to a lot more dominant out there.”
Dominance is what the Bruins should one day expect from Hamilton. Though he does not yet look the part of a top defenseman, the lanky and bright-eyed teenager (he turned 18 last month) compares himself to Rob Blake, a comparison with which B’s general manager Peter Chiarelli agrees.
For now, Hamilton and the other newcomers to development camp are there to meet one another and make a good impression on the organization.
“[He's] a big boy, moves really well for a kid that’s 6-foot-4,” B’s assistant GM Don Sweeney said Thursday. “I like his overall approach to the game. He looks like he wants to get up ice and is conscientious about his one-on-one play. It’s a small sample size, obviously, but based on all of our games we watched him play, he’s a well-rounded player that has a lot of room for continued development so we’re really excited to have him.”
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