Hamill knows this may be last chance with B's

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Hamill knows this may be last chance with B's

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.

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

McQuaid on going in the NHL expansion draft: ‘I hope that’s not the case for me’

McQuaid on going in the NHL expansion draft: ‘I hope that’s not the case for me’

BOSTON – With the NHL expansion draft looming a couple of months in the future, it became much more of a reality for the Bruins this week now that the 2016-17 season is in the books.

Bruins GM Don Sweeney said on Thursday that he expects the Bruins to go the 7 (forwards) 3 (defensemen) 1 (goaltender) route protecting their roster from the June 21 expansion draft. That will still leave some useful roster players unprotected.

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Atop that available expansion list for the Bruins will be potential names Malcolm Subban, Riley Nash, Jimmy Hayes and Adam McQuaid, who could be headed to Vegas. Asked about the topic at this week’s breakup day for the players, McQuaid expressed his hopes that he isn’t the one selected by the Vegas Golden Knights. The 30-year-old McQuaid stayed healthy enough to play in 77 games this season, and posted two goals and 10 points along with a plus-4 while serving in a top-four role pretty much all season as Torey Krug’s defensive partner.

McQuaid also brought the toughness and quiet leadership element with his willingness to always stand up for his teammates and go toe-to-toe with the toughest guys in the league when it was called for. His midseason heavyweight bout with Matt Martin was one of the most memorable moments of the season. It’s an element the Bruins would miss if he was taken in the expansion draft.  

“Well, I hope not. I never thought of it that way, to be honest with you. Obviously, the reality of the situation is they’re picking somebody from every team,” said McQuaid. “So, I hope that’s not the case for me. I’ve won here and I’ve always said how much I love it back here. I can’t imagine playing for another team. It’s totally out of my control, but hopefully that’s not the case.”

McQuaid is signed for $2.75 million for the next seasons and it was clear he was missed on the penalty kill once he went down injured in the first-round series against the Ottawa Senators. As for the entire expansion process, Sweeney said they are currently whittling down the protected list while required to protect Zdeno Chara, David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron and David Backes to start by virtue of the no-movement language in their contracts.

Other young players, Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo and Frank Vatrano among others, don’t need to be protected either after completing this season with two years or less of pro hockey experience. One of the most difficult decisions will come down to protecting either 25-year-old Colin Miller or 28-year-old Kevan Miller as the third defensemen. 

Whichever one of those D-men is left unprotected would join McQuaid as the most likely player to be selected by Vegas GM George McPhee after he spent a decent amount of time scouting the Black and Gold this season to get an idea of which player he wanted.

Here’s our best guess at which players will end up being protected by the Bruins:

Forwards (7): Bergeron, Krejci, Backes, Pastrnak, Marchand, Beleskey and Spooner

Defensemen (3): Chara, Krug and Colin Miller

Goaltender (1): Rask 


 

Friday, April 28: Why combine NHL Awards with expansion draft?

Friday, April 28: Why combine NHL Awards with expansion draft?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while hoping that Bruce Cassidy does a regular call-in to the Toucher and Rich Show next season. It’s a treat for Bruins fans. Cassidy is a straight shooter and has a great personality as well.

*Puck Daddy explains why the NHL is cramming the expansion draft for Vegas in with the NHL Awards show. I feel like this kind of makes sense because they’re both Vegas-centric.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Ian Mendes says there’s no playoff fever in Ottawa and instead only a “Sens malaise.” It’s crazy to me that there were pockets of empty seats in Ottawa for Game 1 of the second round of the playoffs against the Rangers.

*Speaking of Game 1 between the Sens and the Rangers, here are the details with Erik Karlsson again stepping up and playing the hero while carrying Ottawa.

*The Anaheim Ducks are having a heck of a time containing Leon Draisaitl in their second round battle with the Edmonton Oilers.

*Here’s some of this morning’s chat between Bruce Cassidy and Toucher and Rich where he talked about his relationship with Claude, his hate for the Canadiens and the future outlook for the Bruins organization. Good stuff.

*Glen Gulutzan reflects on his first season behind the bench for the Calgary Flames after their first round ouster.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) and PHT writer Mike Halford has details of the Rangers not allowing Chris Drury to interview for the GM job with the Buffalo Sabres.

*For something completely different: What is the deal with this Buckingham McVie music that’s coming out? Whatever happened to Buckingham Nicks?