June 29, 2012

Bruins Development Camp Profile: Dougie Hamilton

By Kirk Luedeke & Jesse Connolly

Throughout Bruins Development Camp, NEHJ's Kirk Luedeke and Jesse Connolly will be profiling the participants. Today, they're looking at Dougie Hamilton, who is in his second camp since being selected ninth overall by the B's in 2011.

Kirk’s Scouting Report

Dougie Hamilton, D, Niagara Ice Dogs (OHL)
6-5, 195  Jun. 17, 1993 in Toronto, Ontario
GP 50  G  17  A 55  PTS 72  PIM 47
Drafted: 1st round, 9th overall, in 2011

Strengths: Outstanding size and an athletic frame that is rumored to be approaching 6-foot-6. Long limbs and reach/wingspan making it difficult for players to get around him. Fluid, mobile skater for his size; generates fine power from his effortless stride. Smooth footwork and agility; as he continues to develop and fill out, he should improve. Good passing ability and advances the puck effectively. Has a rifle of a shot from the point that is heavy and accurate. Sneaky offensive player as a former forward-- slips in behind defenses with open ice on the man advantage and effective at burying the puck in close. Offensive hockey sense is arguably the best of any defensive player not in the NHL, with superb vision and the ability to read the play. Good defensive instincts with strong positioning and the ability to keep opponents to the outside. 

Weaknesses: Has an awkward-looking upright skating stance; he might be able to add a little more speed with some style tweaks with Boston's skating instructor. Release is a little slow with an extended wind-up; could stand to mix up his shot selection at times in lieu of the booming slap shot from the point. Not an overly physical player; tends to rub out guys and use body leverage as opposed to big open-ice hits. 

Projection: No. 1 or 2 All-Star NHL defenseman after a transition period to ease him into his role. Hamilton is the best Boston prospect in decades (not counting players who made the team in their very first year after being drafted), and fans have eagerly tracked him all year. The team was rewarded by having Hamilton in its top-three at the 2011 draft with a dominant OHL season. Because Hamilton is not eligible to play in the AHL next year, expect him to play for Boston in 2012-13.

Dougie Says

On if it’s possible to still have fun despite all the pressure to make the team…

I think the only pressure is what I put on myself to be able to get better. I think it’s a great opportunity and I’m trying to work as hard as I can to be better and fulfill that.

On the difference between last year’s camp and this year’s camp…

Last year was about just coming in and making a good first impression. This year it’s a little bit different. This year I think I’m maybe more expected to be more pro-ready. I’m just trying to do my best.

On the Bruins hinting at expecting him to make the team…

It puts a smile on my face and makes me want to work harder. I’m just trying to do my best.

What helped him make such a big jump last season with Niagara…

I think I’ve gotten better at everything. I’m a little bit bigger and stronger, and I think a bit more skilled as well. I think going to camp and playing with the guys, and going back to the OHL with that confidence helped a lot. Any time you can get that confidence, I think it helps your game.

On his own expectations of making the team…

Obviously that’s my goal but it’s the Bruins’ decision.

On how his experiences in the last year, including Niagara’s playoff run, help…

It’s huge. Coming in last year was my first development camp and I had never been to a pro camp. So then going through that, rookie camp and main camp, and kind of learning what it takes to be there and what I needed to improve on. I think that helped me a lot, and going to World Juniors as well, you’re playing in front of pretty much the whole country and playing against the best in your age group. So just coming here again is a little bit easier and you have a little bit extra confidence.

On what he’ll focus on in camp with the real battle for roster spots not until September…

To work on everything, just the simple parts of your game: your passing and skating skills, making decisions and stuff like that. I’m just trying to get familiar with everyone and, most of all, have fun. 

Kirk Luedeke can be reached at kluedeke@hockeyjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter at @kluedeke29.

Jesse Connolly can be reached at jconnolly@hockeyjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JesseNEHJ.