Chiarelli: 'Goal is to have Hamilton in NHL'

Chiarelli: 'Goal is to have Hamilton in NHL'
September 19, 2013, 1:00 pm
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The Bruins have a clear decision to make regarding the two spots among the top six defensemen, and the three young D-men (Dougie Hamilton, Matt Bartkowski, Torey Krug) that are in the running for those starting positions. Krug will play on Thursday night against the Red Wings, and appears to have locked up a spot working on the left side in a bottom D-pairing with the rugged Adam McQuaid. The three-assist performance against the Habs on Monday reaffirmed that Krug’s playoff outburst wasn’t aberrational, and that the skilled blueliner could be a real asset on the power play.

So that essentially leaves Bartkowski and Hamilton to battle for the final spot, with the camp battle loser starting the season as the spare defenseman. There is a school of thought to send Hamilton to the AHL for a span of games if Bartkowski were to win the positional battle.

Skating for the Providence Bruins, Hamilton could play 25 minutes a night, earn top power play and penalty kill minutes, and really develop into the franchise defenseman everybody in Boston feels he can become. It could also be beneficial to Boston’s cap situation to send the extra defenseman down to Providence and potentially get them off the Boston books.

It should be noted that both Kevan Miller and Zach Trotman have also excelled during training camp, and put themselves on Boston’s organizational depth radar.

But it will likely come down to Hamilton or Bartkowski, and B’s general manager Peter Chiarelli indicated he’d prefer not to send the former top 10 pick to the AHL this season.

“My goal is to have [Hamilton] in the NHL,” said Chiarelli. “We don’t have to spell that out for them that there’s…I spoke openly to the group about competition. I’m really looking forward to seeing the competition at all levels, at all positions. Obviously there are guys that are fixed in their position but when you look at those three D and you look at the players, the D that have been there, there’s really three D for two spots.

“I guess that doesn’t rule out other D-men that may be the seven, but common sense would dictate right now that it would be those three guys for those two spots. They have embraced it and they’ve played well. I thought Dougie [Hamilton] had a good game [vs. the Capitals], he was strong on the puck and made some good plays and closed well as the game progressed. The other two, Torey [Krug] and Bart [Matt Bartkowski] the other night in Montreal, they both played well.”

So it would appear all three will start the season with the Boston roster, and now it’s just a matter of getting into the top six and sticking there. All three are neck-and-neck in that race thus far during training camp.