Saturday, June 25, 2011

Dougie Hamilton needs more seasoning

Things are golden after black cloud

It didn’t take long for 18-year-old defenseman Dougie Hamilton to feel comfortable as the newest member of the Bruins. It didn’t take long for 18-year-old defenseman Dougie Hamilton to feel comfortable as the newest member of the Bruins. (Andy King/Associated Press)
What’s going on here? Really. Longtime Bruins fans aren’t accustomed to this kind of good fortune run amok. A little more than a week after winning their first Stanley Cup in 39 years, last night they watched Dougie Hamilton, a promising 6-foot-4-inch mountain of a defenseman, drop out of the sky and land in their Black-and-Gold basket as the No. 9 pick in the draft.
Draftniks had Hamilton, a scholar and potential franchise blue liner, pegged 2-5 picks higher. If they were going to stick to their wish to take a defenseman, the wisdom went, the Bruins were going to have to look at players such as Jonas Brodin, Duncan Siemens, or offensive dynamo Ryan Murphy.
Nope. Not the our-life-is-one-big-ol’-rabbit’s-foot Boston Bruins. Not the everything’s-going-our-way-now-baby Black and Gold. Hamilton was still hanging around at No. 9 and general manager Peter Chiarelli grabbed him faster than the feds put the collar Wednesday night on Whitey Bulger.
Brodin went 10th to Minnesota, Siemens 11th to Colorado, and Murphy 12th to Carolina — the club that last year chose Jeff Skinner at No. 7 and saw him become Rookie of the Year. Maybe the same happens for Murphy, who thinks goal scoring is a virtue and goal stopping is an occupational hazard.
From the Bruins’ perspective, all three are nothing but also-rans now and they can fix their attention on soon adding Hamilton into their blue-line mix. A bit less than 200 pounds, Hamilton needs to beef up a little. He also has to add some edge to his game. Hey, the kid turned 18 just last week. He may not get any taller (then again . . . ), so he still has to fill out that bone rack and get to his first NHL training camp.
But as first-round picks go, Hamilton stands out as the club’s most intriguing choice among defensemen since 1995, when they selected 6-4 Kyle McLaren at No. 9. Nick Boynton, selected No. 21 in 1999, also was considered a blue-chipper, but Boynton was smaller (6-1), had diabetes, and was somewhat of a special case, given that he had been drafted No. 9 overall in ’97, only to reenter the draft when he couldn’t come to contract terms with the more.

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