Hamill, Bruins at a crossroad

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Hamill, Bruins at a crossroad

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
WILMINGTON While Zach Hamill hasnt been a part of the Bruins development camp over the last couple of years, the 2007 first round pick was still a big topic of conversation at Ristuccia Arena.

The 22-year-old has a pair of assists in four games with the Bruins over the last two seasons, and actually flashed a little bit of playmaking talent in three games with Boston in the middle of last season. But the 5-foot-10, 180-pounder has struggled with scoring during his time with the Providence Bruins, and hasnt developed into the point-per-game scorer he was with the WHLs Everett Silvertips.

Physical strength has been a big issue for Hamill in his time with Providence, and hes never been a big two-way factor working out of the pivot position.

The junior hockey career saw him get drafted No. 9 overall by the Bruins in 2007, and picked ahead of San Joses Logan Couture, Carolinas Brandon Sutter, Montreals Max Pacioretty and St. Louis David Perron. Clearly the Bruins would have liked the pick given the 2020 nature of hindsight, but Hamill has one more season to regain his value one way or another.

Cassidy said that the P-Bruins may move Hamill to a wing position while trying to find something to speak more out of the forward than the 43 points (9 goals, 34 assists) in 68 AHL games last season.

"He hasn't developed as well as we've all hoped," Providence Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said following Day No. 2 of development camp. "We all know that up front. Part of that has to fall on the coaching staff. Part of that has to fall on the individual. We move forward and Zach gets an opportunity to work with a new coaching staff, per se. Maybe that motivates him.

Maybe we look at moving him around in a different position. He's been a center iceman. Maybe we try him on the wing. It's a little unorthodox and thinking out of the box. But maybe that gets his game to another level, putting him with some players that can make him a better player also. At the end of the day, when you're in your fourth year with the same organization, it falls upon yourself just to push people. The individual has to recognize what's going on around him. A few people have passed him. It's time for him to start passing some younger guys that have come in the last couple years. Whether he's ready to do that, we'll find out in September.

Cassidy also acknowledged that it might be Hamills mission to get another NHL team to notice him with limited opportunities to crack a Stanley Cup winning roster full of Bruins players.

He was a top pick and sometimes theres no room. When you win a Stanley Cup theres obviously good players and there might not be room, said Cassidy. But for him, part of his process could be hey there are twenty nine other teams, maybe if I show other people I can play then hes still an asset to the Bruins. Maybe he gets other teams to start thinking about him in their line-up that are weaker up front. Thats sort of how Zach has to approach it. I think both at a personal level that hey Ive got to find a home somewhere else if its not here by playing well.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Morning Skate: Sidney Crosby has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation

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Morning Skate: Sidney Crosby has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while wishing everybody a safe and relaxing Memorial Day weekend. 

*Apparently Nashville Predators head coach Peter Laviolette has yet to try Nashville’s hot chicken despite his time behind the Preds bench. It’s okay, I have yet to try it either in my handful of visits to Music City. 

*Good stuff from PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Brough. Apparently it wasn’t so easy to make Wayne Gretzky’s head bleed when it came time for director Doug Liman to cut Swingers together

*Sidney Crosby cares about the history and the issues of the game, and has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation despite the hate that always comes with such responsibility. 

*Puck Daddy examines Crosby’s performance in the playoffs, and the odds of him winning another Conn Smythe Trophy. 

*The Penguins have made it to the Stanley Cup Final without Kris Letang for their playoff run, and that’s an amazing accomplishment. 

*Erik Karlsson said that he will be tending to his injured foot next week, and expects a full recovery for next season after a brilliant run with his Ottawa Senators

*Larry Brooks again rails against the Stanley Cup playoff structure and it’s relation to an “absurd regular season.” Say what you will, but the fact the Penguins are there for a second straight season shoots down some of the absurdity stuff in my mind. The best team from the East is where they should be and they did it without Kris Letang to boot. 

*Chicago Blackhawks prospect Alex Debrincat is confident his abilities will translate to the NHL despite his size after taking home honors as the best player in junior hockey this season. 

*For something completely different: Apparently there’s a hard core comic book geek gripe that “The Flash” is burning through bad guys too quickly. This would make sense if they couldn’t revisit these bad guys at any point, but they absolutely can go back to a big bad like Grodd anytime they want. 

Playoff run ends for Providence Bruins, but some promising signs

Playoff run ends for Providence Bruins, but some promising signs

It was the longest run that the P-Bruins have had in a few years and another unmistakable sign that the future is brightening for the Black and Gold, but the Bruins AHL affiliate has ended their playoff push in the Calder Cup semi-finals. 

The Providence Bruins fell by a 3-1 score to the Syracuse Crunch on Saturday night to lose to the Crunch in five games when the best-of-seven series was set to return to Providence this coming week. The P-Bruins had vanquished the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins and Hershey Bears in the first two rounds of the Calder Cup playoffs before finally exiting against Syracuse. 

Though it’s over, it’s clear some of the Bruins prospects made a nice step forward over the second half of the AHL season and then into the Calder Cup playoffs. With the Calder Cup Finals yet to start, B’s forward prospect Danton Heinen stands as the second-leading playoff scorer in the entire AHL with nine goals and 18 points in 17 playoff games after really struggling in the first half of his first pro season while bouncing back and forth between the NHL and the AHL. 

This could bode well for the skilled Heinen and his hopes to make the leap to the NHL in the near future after a stellar collegiate career at the University of Denver. AHL journeymen-types Wayne Simpson and Jordan Szwarz were the next two top scorers for the P-Bruins in the playoff run, but Jake DeBrusk had a strong playoff season as well while popping in six goals in 17 games. DeBrusk led all Providence players with his 54 shots on net in the 17-game playoff run for Providence, and he headlined a group that included B’s prospects Ryan Fitzgerald, Zach Senyshyn, Matt Grzelcyk, Peter Cehlarik (who succumbed to shoulder surgery during the playoffs), Emil Johansson and Robbie O’Gara all getting some vital playoff experience. 

Both Heinen and DeBrusk will be strong candidates for jobs on the wing with the Boston big club when training camp opens in the fall after strong showings in the postseason. 

On the goaltending side, Zane McIntyre was solid for the P-Bruins at times while in 16 of their 17 playoff games with a .906 save percentage. But it was Malcolm Subban that was playing at the very end of the playoff run for Providence and featured a sterling .937 save percentage in the four AHL playoff games that he appeared in this spring after an up-and-down regular season. McIntyre had an .857 save percentage and 4.37 goals against average in the final series against Syracuse, and looked a little spent like many of the other P-Bruins players once they’d unexpectedly made it to the third round of the AHL postseason.  

The only unfortunate part of Providence’s run is that newly signed youngsters Charlie McAvoy and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson couldn’t be a part of it after signing and then appearing in NHL games following a cut-off date for AHL playoff rosters. Both missed on an experience that could have been very conducive for their professional development, and uncovered a wrinkle in the NHL/AHL transaction process that really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for a developmental league.