The Boston Bruins’ No. 9 pick in the 2011 NHL draft, Dougie Hamilton, is finally getting the chance to show his stuff. The 19-year-old rookie has proven himself worthy to stay in the NHL this season instead of going back to his junior team with his skilled passing and aggressive play.
The 6’5’’ defenseman has attracted the attention of fans in just the first few games of his NHL career. Let’s take a look at exactly how Hamilton is contributing to Boston’s strong team.
In just eight games, Hamilton has four assists to give him four points for the start of his first NHL season.
Two of those assists were tallied in the Bruins’ 4-2 win over the New York Islanders on Friday, Jan. 25. Not only did Hamilton set up the first goal, but he also sent the puck to Brad Marchand who then passed it to Patrice Bergeron for the game-sealing goal in the third period.
With four assists already under his belt and his position in the NHL solidified, Hamilton will surely be making more crucial plays like those against the Islanders.
Hamilton is not only a good defender; he is also a skilled passer and puckhandler. His assists and aggression on the power play indicate his ability to succeed on the offensive as well as the defensive.
Hamilton’s aggressive play shows that he does not fear taking shots or making strong passes. The Bruins rank 27th in the NHL on the power play—Boston needs a player like Hamilton who will create offense and get the puck to scorers like Bergeron.
With Dennis Seidenberg out for a few games with injury, Hamilton has been forced out of his comfort zone with different defensive partners.
Teaming up with both Zdeno Chara and Andrew Ference, Hamilton has played well despite the changes.
Bruins coach Claude Julien said (via The Patriot Ledger): “It’s not really a matter of seeing where [Hamilton] fits. He’s a good player. He can play anywhere.”
Hamilton also commented on his willingness to be flexible: “I think it’s definitely a lot easier to play with the same guy all the time, but to be able to play with different guys, get used to different guys, is good, too. I’m open for anything.”
After the Bruins confirmed that they would keep Hamilton for the season instead of sending him back to his junior team, coach Claude Julien was quite complimentary when speaking of the young defenseman.
He even compared Hamilton to Hall of Famer Larry Robinson (via The Boston Globe): “He’s solid and he moves the puck well and sees the play well. I think everybody knows Larry was a pretty good player.”
He continued: “We know he’s got the size, the skating, and everything else to play in this league. I think his composure is what seems to be really impressing a lot of people. He’s made some big plays for us…right now, to me, he’s not playing like a rookie, he’s not playing like a first-year player.”
Fellow Bruin Milan Lucic also voiced his admiration for the young Hamilton (via The Boston Globe): “Looking at him now it’s pretty amazing that he got passed up eight times to go ninth overall in the 2011 draft,” Lucic said. “We’re real fortunate to have him. He’s got a lot of skill, he’s got a lot of poise, he plays with a lot of confidence.”
As the clock wound down during the third period of the Bruins-Islanders matchup on Friday, Jan. 25, the Bruins fans were quite vocal about their appreciation for the aggressive defenseman.
The crowd cheered “Dougie! Dougie!” to celebrate the rookie’s first multi-point game. The fans at the rink aren’t the only ones cheering on the young player, either. Bruins and hockey fans alike are impressed with Hamilton’s first few games.
As long as the rookie keeps skating with finesse and passing with aggression, he will continue to impress.