Hamill, Bruins at a crossroad

191545.jpg

Hamill, Bruins at a crossroad

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
WILMINGTON While Zach Hamill hasnt been a part of the Bruins development camp over the last couple of years, the 2007 first round pick was still a big topic of conversation at Ristuccia Arena.

The 22-year-old has a pair of assists in four games with the Bruins over the last two seasons, and actually flashed a little bit of playmaking talent in three games with Boston in the middle of last season. But the 5-foot-10, 180-pounder has struggled with scoring during his time with the Providence Bruins, and hasnt developed into the point-per-game scorer he was with the WHLs Everett Silvertips.

Physical strength has been a big issue for Hamill in his time with Providence, and hes never been a big two-way factor working out of the pivot position.

The junior hockey career saw him get drafted No. 9 overall by the Bruins in 2007, and picked ahead of San Joses Logan Couture, Carolinas Brandon Sutter, Montreals Max Pacioretty and St. Louis David Perron. Clearly the Bruins would have liked the pick given the 2020 nature of hindsight, but Hamill has one more season to regain his value one way or another.

Cassidy said that the P-Bruins may move Hamill to a wing position while trying to find something to speak more out of the forward than the 43 points (9 goals, 34 assists) in 68 AHL games last season.

"He hasn't developed as well as we've all hoped," Providence Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said following Day No. 2 of development camp. "We all know that up front. Part of that has to fall on the coaching staff. Part of that has to fall on the individual. We move forward and Zach gets an opportunity to work with a new coaching staff, per se. Maybe that motivates him.

Maybe we look at moving him around in a different position. He's been a center iceman. Maybe we try him on the wing. It's a little unorthodox and thinking out of the box. But maybe that gets his game to another level, putting him with some players that can make him a better player also. At the end of the day, when you're in your fourth year with the same organization, it falls upon yourself just to push people. The individual has to recognize what's going on around him. A few people have passed him. It's time for him to start passing some younger guys that have come in the last couple years. Whether he's ready to do that, we'll find out in September.

Cassidy also acknowledged that it might be Hamills mission to get another NHL team to notice him with limited opportunities to crack a Stanley Cup winning roster full of Bruins players.

He was a top pick and sometimes theres no room. When you win a Stanley Cup theres obviously good players and there might not be room, said Cassidy. But for him, part of his process could be hey there are twenty nine other teams, maybe if I show other people I can play then hes still an asset to the Bruins. Maybe he gets other teams to start thinking about him in their line-up that are weaker up front. Thats sort of how Zach has to approach it. I think both at a personal level that hey Ive got to find a home somewhere else if its not here by playing well.

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

Rask stops 35 shots in Bruins' 2-1 win over Sabres

boston-bruins-tuukka-rask-sabres-120316.jpg

Rask stops 35 shots in Bruins' 2-1 win over Sabres

BUFFALO, N.Y. - Tuukka Rask made 35 saves to help the Bruins hold off the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 on Saturday

David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron scored to give Boston a 2-0 lead and the Bruins improved to 3-0-1 in their past four.

Evander Kane scored his first goal of the season for Buffalo. Robin Lehner returned after missing one game with a hip injury and made 32 saves.

The Sabres combined for nine goals in their previous two wins but the NHL's lowest-scoring team reverted to form from the first 21 games, when star center Jack Eichel was out of the lineup with a high-ankle sprain.

Krejci got the Bruins on the scoreboard with 5:50 left in the first when he deflected Brandon Carlo's slap shot from the point off the right post and into the net.

The Sabres appeared to tie the game late in the second period but replays determined Brian Gionta kicked the puck into the net.

Bergeron made it 2-0 at 7:10 of the second at 7:44 of the third when he knocked on the rebound of his own missed shot. Bergeron initially hit the puck with his forearm on the left edge of the crease and skated around the net to chase down the puck and slip a backhand past Lehner.

The Sabres answered two minutes later, scoring on Rask for the first time in 109:12 this season. Sam Reinhart's feed off the rear wall set up Kane for a wrist shot from the slot that bounced in off Krejci. Reinhart has five points in his last four games.

NOTES: Bruins F Matt Beleskey was escorted to the dressing room in the final minute of the first period with a lower-body injury and did not return. ... Sabres D Josh Gorges did not play after injuring his foot blocking a shot in Thursday's win over the New York Rangers. With Dmitry Kulikov (lower back) and Zach Bogosian (MCL sprain) also out, the Sabres were down three of their top four defenseman and recalled 19-year-old Brendan Guhle from the minors to make his NHL debut. Guhle hustled back to thwart a breakaway by Krejci late in the third period. ... F Anton Blidh became the seventh Bruin to make his NHL debut this season after being recalled from the minors on Friday. ... The Bruins scratched F Jimmy Hayes. D Zdeno Chara, the Bruins' captain, missed his sixth straight game with a lower-body injury. ... Rask got a shutout in Boston's 4-0 win over Buffalo on Nov. 7.

UP NEXT

Bruins: Host Florida on Monday.

Sabres: At Washington on Monday.

 

© 2016 by STATS and The Associated Press.