Boston Bruins fans have to be hoping for nothing less out of Dougie Hamilton than what the point-based prodigy dished up for Team Canada against the host Russians in Monday’s World Junior Championship action.
At the 14:03 mark of the first period, teammate and established NHLer Ryan Nugent-Hopkins found an open Hamilton on the near point. The blueliner’s one-timer sizzled over the right shoulder of Russia netminder Andrei Makarov and sent the water bottle on a high dive to the ice behind the cage.
More to the point, it gave Hamilton his first goal in the 2012-13 WJC and gave Canada a power-play conversion and the icebreaker en route to a 4-1 win in the round robin finale. The Bruins’ top draft pick from 2011 offered the first dose of support to 2012 Boston first-rounder Malcolm Subban, who has seen every possible minute of action in four consecutive victories.
Hamilton’s searing salsa biscuit is as close as any current member of the Bruins brethren is going to get to matching captain Zdeno Chara’s peerlessly formidable slapper. Monday was one of the more prominently displayed examples in recent memory.
The sooner the towering 19-year-old defender and his power-play point shot acclimate to the majors, the sooner the Bruins brass will the feel the gratification of selecting him 18 months ago.
Boston’s iffy power play continues to be one of the club’s topmost hindrances. The Bruins finished the 2011-12 regular season in the middle of the pack with a 17.2 percent conversion rate and mustered only two goals on 23 man advantages in last spring’s playoffs.
As it happened, Chara led the team through the regular season with eight power-play goals and 18 points. Tyler Seguin, Hamilton’s predecessor as the Bruins’ top draft choice in 2010, led all forwards with 15 points.
Through 32 games with the Niagara Ice Dogs this season, Hamilton has slugged home three goals and added 12 assists on the man-advantage. His firsthand contributions have dipped a little from the nine power-play goals he scored in 50 games last year, but a greater challenge might reawaken him.
Teaming up with an array of strictly NHL-caliber young talent and facing off with the 20-and-under Russians is one way of doing that.
With Seguin another year older and entering his third NHL season and a host of other leaned-on forwards presumably returning, Hamilton should have a reliable assortment of offensive colleagues once he is placed on a power-play unit.
If all goes according to plan and the Bruins get a green light to play this winter, the next four to five months should serve as a brief, but beneficial baptismal period for Hamilton. Afterwards, effective at his first full-length professional season in 2013-14, he ought to be emerging as a go-to point patroller on the second unit while Chara handles the same duties with the same visual appeal on the first squadron.