By Danny Picard
BOSTON -- It's never been reported that the San Jose Sharks delivered the Boston Bruins a thank-you letter, following the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, but there's no doubt that they have to be extremely grateful for the fact that the B's left Logan Couture on the table, by selecting Zach Hamill with the No. 8 overall pick in that year's draft, allowing the Sharks to take Couture with the very next pick.
Couture scored his 23rd goal of the season on Saturday afternoon at the TD Garden. His first-period power-play backhander from the slot that beat Tim Thomas made the difference in San Jose's 2-0 win.
Meanwhile, the Bruins had dressed Hamill for the first time this season, on Saturday, marking just his second-career NHL game, after being called up for a game against the Washington Capitals last April.
Hamill saw 10:35 of ice time in 13 shifts, all on even strength. He centered a line with Blake Wheeler and Michael Ryder, and they combined for only two shots on net, with Hamill not taking either one.
His call-up comes during a tough stretch of games for the Bruins, as their next three games after Saturday's against San Jose come against Montreal and two in a row against Detroit.
But his call-up is certainly well-deserved, according to general manager Peter Chiarelli, who said on Friday that as of right now, Hamill is just "getting a look," but that there was a chance it could turn into something more than that.
In 44 games for the Providence Bruins this year, Hamill had three goal and 25 assists. Clearly, he's more of a playmaker than a goal scorer. But so far, since getting drafted, he's shown to be nothing more than a minor-league playmaker.
It would be highly unfair to evaluate his professional career based on just two games in two seasons, but on an afternoon in which the player that was drafted behind him -- Couture -- scored the game-winning goal while playing at the same professional level as the player drafted ahead of him -- Hamill -- it's fair to say that as of right now, the Sharks have benefited more from their first-round pick, than the Bruins have.
"I think Couture is the most complete player that I've seen at that age," said Sharks captain Joe Thornton after his team's win at the Garden on Saturday. "He penalty kills, he plays power play, he plays all the important minutes. He's been a stud for us all year long. he is very complete, by far, the Calder Trophy winner so far this year."
The Calder Trophy goes to the rookie of the year. Couture played 25 games with San Jose at the end of last season. But technically, as long as you don't play more than 25 games in your first season, you're still a rookie during the next season.
Couture leads all NHL rookies with 23 goals, and is second of all rookies in points with 34, six behind Carolina's Jeff Skinner.
Meanwhile, Hamill -- who was picked ahead of Couture in 2007 -- is just getting his feet wet in the show. It wasn't an awful performance, by any means. But at the same time, it was awfully tough to pick out a Bruins player who showed up, offensively, on Saturday.
"It was his first game this season, and it wasn't an easy game," said Julien. "I don't think he got a ton of ice time, but when it's a player's first game, you give him the benefit of the doubt. I don't think he was any worse or any better than anybody, but I thought he was OK. I thought his battle level was, for Zach, was good. I thought his positioning, his smarts, you could tell, were there. So we'll probably see more as we move on here."
Hamill said after his season-debut that he didn't know what the team's future plan was for him. All he was focused on was taking part in his postgame workout. But make no mistake about it, the kid wants to stay, just like anyone else who's ever gotten a taste of the NHL.
"I was a little nervous to start, but as the game went on, I felt more comfortable and was making plays a little bit, and overall I felt pretty good," said Hamill.
"You grow up, and you say you want to play in the NHL, but once you kind of get up here, you want to stay. And not just stay, but staying in terms of contributing, and you go forward from there."
Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard. You can listen to Danny on his streaming radio show I'm Just Sayin' Monday-Friday from 9-10 a.m. on CSNNE.com.