Boston Bruins

Hamilton is final piece of Kessel trade

191545.jpg

Hamilton is final piece of Kessel trade

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
MINNEAPOLIS It might officially be time for Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli to close up that fancy embossed envelope and send the Thank You card to Toronto GM Brian Burke for the Phil Kessel deal.

The Bruins used the final draft pick collected in the Kessel deal with Toronto to select 6-foot-4 defenseman Dougie Hamilton a tall, rangy, skilled defenseman that Chiarelli compared to NHL stalwart Rob Blake when pressed and now have 19-year-old Tyler Seguin, enormously talented second round pick Jared Knight and Hamilton to show for a player in Toronto that still has yet to play one postseason game with the Leafs.

There are some within the Bruins organization that get just as bright-eyed speaking about the offensive potential of Knight as they do about Seguin and his elite skating, shooting and playmaking package.

While Seguin and possibly Knight will factor into next seasons Bruins team as dangerous scoring forces at the forward positions, the selection of Hamilton gives the Bruins a solid nucleus of players that should be in Black and Gold for the next 5-10 years once theyve all made it to Boston.

Chiarelli and Co. had brought defensemen prospects Ryan Murphy and Nathan Beaulieu to Boston for interviews and workouts when they thought both would be there for the taking with the No. 9 pick overall. They never brought Hamilton into the Hub for a sit-down because they assumed hed be long gone by the time they selected, so Chiarelli once again played the role of an executive exclaiming with glee that they couldnt believe their good fortune that a player had dropped into their lap.

Chiarelli made a point to mention that the team had never drafted an elite defenseman with their first round picks in each of the last five years, and that this could possibly be the year it happens.

That is exactly what happened.

We basically said that we dont have to bring this fellow in to Boston for an interview, said Chiarelli. If he was there, it was a no-brainer so we didnt have to see anything extra on him. Thats how strongly we feel about him.

Hes a tremendous skater: good offensive instincts, good stick, hes a very smart player on the ice, good range. He has a good, physical side to his game. And hes big and he continues to grow.

The 6-foot-4, 190-pound frame is the typical body of an 18-year-old kid that still needs time to mature and fill out, but the frame can support a lot more muscle that will be added over the next few years. For those reasons Chiarelli assumed that Hamilton wont be able to play in Boston next season, and would likely be headed back to Niagara for another season of refinement in junior hockey.

Hamilton obviously wasnt going to demand he play in Boston next year, and seemed to understand he still had some growth and maturity to go before he was ready to play against grown men in the NHL. The youngster sprouted up two inches and gained 10 pounds last summer, and appears that he might not be done growing into an ideal body type for a defenseman.

Ive grown a lot in the last few years and havent really filled into my body yet. Im still working hard right now in the gym, said Hamilton. I need to work a lot harder and get bigger and that will help with my physical game as well. I think you have to improve everything because the guys in the NHL are a lot better than OHL players.

He did look pretty good last year, however, with 12 goals and 46 assists along with 77 PIMs in 67 games skating for the Ice Dogs, and showed the kind of athleticism assumed with his bloodlines. His father was a bronze medal-winning rower on the Canadian Olympic team and his mother a member of the Canadian Womens Baseball Team when both met during the 1984 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

Best of all, Hamilton already had his first taste of Boston despite his status as an Ontario kid in the middle of Maple Leafs Nation. Hamilton was among a contingent of top prospects the NHL shuttled to Boston for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals and the teen-ager was blown away by the passion and frenzy of Bruins fans lathered up for their first Cup Final game in nearly 20 years.

We got to go in the dressing room and meet a bunch of the guys, and talk to Tyler Seguin and guys like that, said Hamilton. We just got to watch the game and pregame skate. The fans were basically standing the whole time and cheering, so that picture is in my head right nowits exciting.

There was a twinkle in Hamiltons eye when the prospect of skating with 6-foot-9 Zdeno Chara was mentioned to the youngster, and it was pretty clear that Boston made a good impression on him. Hell obviously be with the Bruins for Development Camp when it opens on July 6 and should be a part of rookie training camp in Boston come September, but Hamilton is in the baby giraffe stage that many bigger defensemen find themselves in their late teen-age years.

For a defenseman -- especially for a big defenseman I think hes got to take time to grow into his body, said Chiarelli. You see that a lot with the bigger defenseman in juniors.

Hamilton will get his time in junior hockey to grow into his scouts dream of a defensemen body, and there will be no rush for him to join young players like Seguin, Knight and Co. that are virtually guaranteeing the Bruins will thrive long after this seasons Stanley Cup team is in the rear view mirror.

All it took was one forward-thinking deal to ship away a petulant one-dimensional scorer, and the Bruins have set themselves up for a marvelous run for the foreseeable future. Hamilton was the final piece in that deal, and it is high time Burke got the proper thank you from the Bs brain trust on Causeway Street.

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

Czarnik trying not to be 'the forgotten man' in Bruins camp

bruins_austin_czarnik_082716.jpg

Czarnik trying not to be 'the forgotten man' in Bruins camp

BOSTON – With all of the talk about young forward prospects Anders Bjork and Jake DeBrusk, it would seem that Austin Czarnik wants to serve a reminder that he can play a little hockey too.

For the second year in a row, the 24-year-old diminutive forward is putting together a strong start to his training camp with a multi-point performance in a 4-2 exhibition victory over the Detroit Red Wings Tuesday night at TD Garden.

Czarnik finished with a penalty-shot goal, two points and tied for the team-lead with four shots on net while playing with the energy, skating aggressiveness and in-your-face attitude that he’s going to need for NHL success. He also made his point that there are more than just a couple of young forwards in camp who can potentially help in Boston this winter.

“He was very good. I think the forgotten man, maybe, he was thinking [a bit] because we’ve talked about a lot of young guys. He’s still a young guy, and wants to make his mark and push for a job on the team,” coach Bruce Cassidy said of Czarnik, who posted five goals and 13 points in 49 games for the Bruins last season. “I thought he looked real good tonight. He won a lot of pucks. He’s always going to make plays in space, that’s his game. He won a lot of pucks and did a lot of little things well.”

It was Czarnik who really helped put the game away in the second period when he sped past a pair of defenders and forced them into hauling him down for a penalty shot with the B’s already up, 2-0. Czarnik patiently slowed his penalty-shot attempt before ripping one past Petr Mrazek’s glove hand in what ended up being the game-winning goal. Czarnik was in the middle of things again in the third on the insurance marker as he engineered a 3-on-1 rush before expertly feeding to Teddy Purcell for the sizzled one-timer.

Czarnik was downplaying the idea that he’s been overlooked in camp but show there was a strong need to remind the B’s organization how he can potentially help them as a fast, aggressive, pesky little center that can also make some plays.

“I’m not going to worry about [getting overlooked]. It’s part of life, you know it’s happened a lot? I’m not going to worry about that,” said Czarnik, who similarly won a job with the Bruins after a strong initial training camp last season. I’m just going to worry about myself and just try to do the right thing every single time and show them what I can do.

“I need to be an energy guy. There’s a lot of young talent now, you know, on the power play and everything now, so I need to try to create energy on the penalty kill and the fore-check. So that’s what my main focus is going to be.”

The energy really is the key to Czarnik’s long-term hopes with the Bruins and, consequently, the rest of the NHL. If he can play with the same skating legs, high energy and rapid pace that he’s consistently shown in preseasons, then there’s no reason to think he can’t help the Bruins. But there were far too many lulls in Czarnik’s rookie NHL season where the skating game wasn’t good enough, there wasn’t enough bite to his fore-check and there just weren’t enough plays being made on the ice.

Clearly, Czarnik is trying to change that impression in this camp with the B’s, but that could prove to be a much more difficult task with so many more quality forwards now battling for a few jobs on the roster in Boston. 

CSNNE SCHEDULE

Morning Skate: Sorry, Shaughnessy but young B's are on the rise

boston-bruins-charlie-mcavoy-2-90917.jpg

Morning Skate: Sorry, Shaughnessy but young B's are on the rise

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while appreciating that Brad Marchand is willing to say something is “an absolute joke.” There are not enough candid players in the NHL like good, ol' No. 63.

*So FOH (Friend of Haggs) Dan Shaughnessy writes that the Bruins are “a lowly number four nowadays” in the power rankings of the big four Boston sports teams. Certainly, Danny is technically correct in saying that the Patriots, Red Sox and Celtics are ahead of the Bruins in terms of the Boston pro sports zeitgeist and that they dominate the sports conversation.

But Shaughnessy points to the Bruins doing nothing to improve themselves last summer as some kind of reason behind their low position among the other Boston sports franchises, and that’s not really a factor. The problem right now is that the Bruins are extremely young and still a couple of years away from returning to true Stanley Cup contention as a result. 
Once Charlie McAvoy is a few years into his career, some of the other Bruins prospects are in the NHL for good and Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Tuukka Rask are still at the back end of their prime, the Bruins will once again be a Cup contender that’s pushing their way back into the championship conversation that commands the attention of the Boston fan.

Would Shaughnessy have been more satisfied with the Bruins if they spent bad money on a big free-agent contract as they did with Matt Beleskey and David Backes in back-to-back years, or if they traded premium prospect Brandon Carlo for hired gun Matt Duchene? That would be the kind of “big splash” move that a bad management group would make to appease the casual fans that don’t truly understand what the B’s are going with their draft-and-development plan.

This Bruins outfit is still a playoff team while they’re building back to that Cup-worthy level. They were playing a much more exciting, entertaining brand of hockey once Bruce Cassidy replaced Claude Julien last winter. This isn’t a lowly team unworthy of the fans’ attention, or more importantly their sports dollar. This is much more about the all-time greatness of the New England Patriots, the deserved excitement for a Celtics team that is truly going for it after being in the Bruins current “building it back up” phase for the past few years and a playoff-level Red Sox team that really has no competition in the summertime.

This isn’t about what the Bruins aren’t doing right now. This is about what the Patriots and Celtics, and to a lesser degree the Red Sox, are doing right now. It's as simple as that in a local sports landscape that’s cyclical and constantly in motion.  

*What a great Facetime hit here from FOH (Friend of Haggs) Ray Ferraro with Jay and Dan now that they’re thankfully back to their rightful home in Canada. The technical difficulties really make the whole thing come together.  

*Congrats to Jonathan Drouin for making a commitment to the city of Montreal that goes well beyond being a player for the Canadiens.

*Lots of prayers and well-wishes to Hingham, Mass., native and New Jersey Devils forward Brian Boyle after his stunning cancer diagnosis. Anybody that knows the Boyle family knows how courageous they are, and how much love and support that Brian will have at a time when he’s going to need every bit of it. I also included a link to a New York Post Q&A with Boyle where he talks a bit about his father’s miraculous battle with cancer as well.   

 *John Chayka is trying to bring with him a new chapter to the history of the Arizona Coyotes, but it’s seemingly always an uphill battle there.

*Nobody should have any problems with the contract extension handed out to Mikko Koivu by the Minnesota Wild.

*For something completely different: Are we seriously living in a world where the Juggalos are marching for their rights?

CSNNE SCHEDULE