The Boston Bruins have had an influx of young talent into the squad last year during the regular season and playoffs. A lot of people made names for themselves, including Dougie Hamilton, who was a top-level defenseman despite his limited experience and showed he has the stuff it takes to be a star in the years to come.
Hamilton possesses all the skills that a team could want in a defenseman. He is a great skater with plenty of speed, a good shot and has a massive frame with at 6-foot-6 and 200 pounds that is going to increase as he grows and develops. At only 20 years old, he has already played 42 games with the squad including seven in the playoffs last season before he was injured. If anything, watching most of the playoffs from the stands will make him more hungry to play and learn next season.
Hamilton will have to work hard to earn his spot on the team full time, though. He will have to compete with players like Johnny Boychuk and Adam McQuaid, for a spot on the right side of the ice which will be no easy task to accomplish. If he can make himself an impact defenseman during training camp like he was at the beginning of the last season, then the pressure of gaining a spot may be alleviated. Worse-case senario, he will spend a bit more time with the Providence Bruins to fine tune his play before making the big jump permanently.
Despite the other young players around him pressing for playing time like Torey Krug, Hamilton will have the opportunity to learn from one the game’s best in Zdeno Chara. The Bruins captain is among the best in the league and will be able to provide some assistance and advice for the Hamilton. No doubt there will be plenty of teaching moments for him, but at least he will have the luxury of playing with some the game’s great players that can help him along the way.
The sky really will be the limit for him next year to prove that he can take on a job full time at a young age. He will not have a straight shot into the squad most likely, but he will be in the mix and is poised to do big things for the Bruins if his level of play continues.
Tim N. is a Boston Bruins writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @timnikolou