So it appears that Dougie Hamilton will be a member of the Bruins next season when NHL hockey is finally ready to resume activity.
The 19-year-old defenseman will have to make the team out of training camp, of course, but Peter Chiarelli openly wondered earlier this summer whether Hamilton could get stuck in junior hockey if theres a work stoppage.
I dont know his status, said Chiarelli, back on July 24 at a press conference to announce Claude Juliens contract extension. But what I can tell you from a previous, a previous work stoppage is that those players that are under 20 and have been in the Canadian Hockey League generally go back to junior hockey.
The 2011 first round pick is too young at 19 years old to play in the AHL this upcoming season, and Hamilton confirmed that he will return to the OHLs Niagara IceDogs if theres a lockout to start the year. But the 6-foot-5 defenseman also said in the same breath hes pretty sure hell be leaving Niagara to report to Bruins training camp once the CBA is finally completed.
The only question now is whether thats September 15 along with the rest of the Bruins rookies for training camp, or when the NHL and NHLPA decide to finally get on the same page.
Im approaching it with an open mind, and just going day-by-day while getting ready for the camp, said Hamilton, who should play on the right side for the Bruins along with Johnny Boychuk and Adam McQuaid. Hopefully the lockout will end soon and I can go to camp and have that opportunity.
All of the 19-year-olds would be back in the OHL. I dont know if its set in stone yet or its just the word going around, but all of those guys would go back to their junior teams and then go to training camp when the NHL season starts. Its a little interesting, but I havent focused on it too much. I just want to work hard, have fun and get ready for everything. It could just be more of an opportunity to work out and get ready, I guess.
The young defenseman was part of the NHLPA Rookie Showcase in Toronto over the last couple of days, and really hasnt taken much of a break during the summer. Hamilton jumped from the Bruins Development Camp to the CanadaRussia Challenge and then to World Junior tryout camp while training for NHL camp with the Bruins. Hamilton skates with his brother, Freddie, along with a collection of AHL and European players during the downtime in the summer.
All that work is about making it in the NHL next season, and that aim hasnt wavered for Hamilton no matter whats happening with the labor issues within the league. Thats good news for a Bruins team licking their chops to utilize a D-Man that posted 72 points in 50 regular season games before posting 23 more points in 20 playoff games.
My goal is to make the Bruins and hopefully I get that opportunity, said Hamilton, who will miss out on the rookie preseason games on Florida that were recently cancelled in one of the first Bs casualties during the work stoppage. Those were pretty fun games that got you ready for camp. It will be different without them, but it will obviously be different this year with the lockout. Im just going with the flow.
Thats the best approach for a young guy like Hamilton.
Hes still very much one of the players in the grey area of the labor discord between a hockey league hes never played in and a players association he wont officially be a member of until he laces up his skates for his first NHL game. But it sounds like Hamilton will be armed, willing and ready whenever the NHL resumes its regular season, and that answers one of the burning Bruins questions this summer with CBA strife upon us all.