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Dougie Hamilton is bulking up… and coming to Boston? 06.26.12 at 3:27 pm ET
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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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Dougie Hamilton suspended 10 games 01.19.12 at 6:59 pm ET
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The Ontario Hockey League announced Thursday that Niagara defenseman Dougie Hamilton, the Bruins’ 2011 first-round pick, has been suspended 10 games.

Hamilton hit Sudbury’s Michael McDonald in the head with a high elbow in last Friday’s game between the IceDogs and the Wolves. Taken into consideration by the OHL was the fact that McDonald suffered a concussion on the play.

The ninth overall pick in June, Hamilton has put together a strong second season in the OHL. In 34 games, Hamilton has 13 goals and 37 assists for 50 points.

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Ryan Spooner to miss World Junior evaluation camp with mono 12.10.11 at 10:32 am ET
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In what our friend Kirk Luedeke notes is just a case of dreadful timing, Bruins prospect Ryan Spooner has mononucleosis and will miss Canada’s World Junior team evaluation camp, which opens Saturday.

Spooner, drafted with the 45th overall pick by the Bruins in 2010, has 32 points (14 goals, 18 assists) through 27 games this season for the Kingston Frontenacs of the OHL. According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, Spooner won’t be replaced on the roster.

The center is one of two B’s prospects invited to Team Canada’s camp. Niagara IceDogs defenseman Dougie Hamilton, who is currently fifth in the OHL with 45 points (12 goals, 33 assists), will be in attendance. The Bruins drafted Hamilton ninth overall in June’s draft and signed the 18-year-old to an entry level contract on Thursday.

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Peter Chiarelli expects Dougie Hamilton to push for a job in Boston next season 12.08.11 at 7:51 pm ET
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Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli met with the media prior to Thursday night’s game and said that he expects defenseman Dougie Hamilton, whom the Bruins signed to an entry level deal that day, to seriously compete for a job in training camp next year.

“I do,” Chiarelli said. “Based on what I saw [in this season’s camp], and based on how I think he’€™ll develop, I think he will.

Hamilton has 11 goals and 31 assists for 42 points with the Niagara IceDogs in the OHL this season. If Providence’s season is still going on when Niagara’s season is over, Chiarelli said he would like to get Hamilton some time in the AHL on an amateur tryout agreement.

The B’s selected Hamilton with the ninth overall pick in June.

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Bruins sign Dougie Hamilton to entry level deal at 6:27 pm ET
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The Bruins announced Thursday that they have signed defenseman Dougie Hamilton to an entry-level contract.

Hamilton, who is currently playing for the Niagara IceDogs, has 11 goals and 30 assists for 41 points this season and was named Defenseman of the Month for October. The 18-year-old will remain in the OHL this season, but figures to make a push for an NHL job next training camp.

The Bruins chose Hamilton ninth overall in June’s draft, selecting him with a pick acquired in 2009’s trade with the Maple Leafs that sent Phil Kessel to Toronto. Hamilton was invited to Team Canada’ selection camp for the World Junior Championships.

Hamilton spoke to WEEI.com in October about the season he’s been having. Here‘s what he had to say.

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Dougie Hamilton named OHL defenseman of the month 11.03.11 at 4:11 pm ET
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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. ‘€œOur 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.

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A look at how Bruins prospects are doing in the OHL this season 10.12.11 at 2:47 pm ET
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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.

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