|Connelly’s Top Ten: Comebacks, Championships and Doobie Brothers||Patriots 2014-2015 Position Review: Quarterbacks||Cubs Hire Manny, Youkilis to Try to Become ’04 Red Sox…Literally||Red Sox 2015 Preview: Buchholz, Porcello, Miley, Masterson, Kelly|
Have you never heard of this guy before? Good. You shouldn’t have; but you will. Zach Hamill was the Boston Bruins’ first pick in the 2007 NHL Draft (eighth overall) and has spent his first three years playing for the Providence Bruins. So unless you follow the Bruins minor leagues, there’s a good chance you have never heard his name before (maybe you did once when he was drafted, but that would be it).
Hailing from British Columbia, Hamill spent the 2003-08 seasons in the Western Hockey League playing for the Everett Silvertips. He had 262 points while playing in 250 games for the Silvertips. His best season came in 2006-07 (the year before he was drafted) when he was able to rack up 93 points off of 32 goals and 61 assists in 69 games for Everett. He led the league in scoring that season.
The center played in seven games during the 2007-08 season with the Providence Bruins, and finished with five assists. He stayed on the team as they made the playoffs and he was able to contribute more as he played in nine games and had four points off of one goal and three assists.
The following year (2008-09) the 20-year-old was able to play a whole season for Providence. In 65 games he collected 26 points on 13 goals and 13 assists. In 15 postseason games last season, he had one goal and five assists for the minor league affiliate.
So far this season for Providence, Hamill has two goals and 10 assists in 23 games.
Ranked fourth on the Bruins top prospect list headlined by Tuukka Rask, and followed by Joe Colborne and Brad Marchand, Hamill will make his impact in Boston sometime in the near future. With Rask already playing regularly and Marchand seeing his ice time in Boston, it’s only a matter of time before Hamill finally suits up in the TD Garden.
Hockeysfuture.com describes Hamill’s skating as “a smooth stride and powerful acceleration, Hamill is able to create space for himself and his teammates. Though just 5’11, he has developed into a solid physical player. Needs to get stronger on the puck.”
Hamill hasn’t shown his physical side while playing for Providence as he only has 54 penalty minutes in 95 games. While leading the WHL in scoring in 2006-07, Hamill had 90 penalty minutes in 69 games that season. So maybe the more physical he is the better player he is.
There’s no question that Hamill will play for Bruins and I think that it will come sometime this season. With most players getting healthy in Boston, it would be hard for him to get ice time in the near future but it wouldn’t surprise me to see him on the Bruins bench by the end of the season. If for some reason Boston runs away with the division, then the B’s will probably look to use younger players to give the regulars rest and Hamill’s name will likely be called. But until then, he will need to impress the coaches down in the AHL.