By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
WILMINGTON -- Zach Hamill knows what its like to be saddled with the weight of expectations. Hamill is a top 10 first round pick and a player who entered the Boston organization with high expectations, but its never quite come together for the center.
Hamill has taken on leadership roles at the prospect camps and has flashed playmaking skills in a pair of short stints in the NHL, but hes never been able to carve out a permanent job for himself in Bruins. Hamill really hasnt ever put together a truly outstanding AHL season since arriving in Providence, and knows that this training camp might just be his final chance in Boston.
Obviously you want to get better every year and this is an important season, said Hamill. But you dont want to look too far ahead. I take it day-by-day and dont look too far ahead. Looking too far ahead kinds of makes it more difficult for me if I do that.
Its good to see some teammates make it to the NHL and it makes you a little bit hungrier. Brad Marchand, David Krejci, Adam McQuaid and Johnny Boychuk all spent some time in Providence and finally made it. Its inspiring to me. Ill do whatever it takes to make it to the NHL.
Hamill is a free agent at the end of the season, and knows that it hasnt quite come together for him yet in a Boston organization stocked with centers. To his credit Hamill is supported by his past, current and future teammates in Boston, and theres likely a team out there that recognizes untapped potential in the 22-year-old pivot.
Hamills best season to date is 43 points and a plus-6 in 68 games for the P-Bruins last season, and he may need to start showcasing himself for other teams potentially interested in adding to their center situation.
The Bs coaching staff recognizes that Hamill has looked more confident and better with the puck this season, and perhaps he can jump back into the top of the depth heap when it comes to center.
Ive seen more confidence in Zach, said coach Claude Julien. Zach has struggled a little bit with that in the past but right now hes shown that after the amount of years hes been at our camp. Its a time for him to show that hes benefitted from the camps. I find him playing a lot more confidence. Hes one of those guys that youll probably see more of what he can do in a game situation than in practice because hes a smart player, a smart individual and he can make some real nice plays. Well et a chance to see that from him.
Hamill said he skated more this summer than he ever had before in preparation for the year with the Bruins, and has quickened up the power and pace hes able to consistently play with.
Time will tell if it makes a difference with Hamill and it those gaudy expectations will ever truly be met by the young centerman.