If ’08 first-round pick Joe Colborne and ’09 first-rounder Jordan Caron were overshadowed at this summer’s development camp by 2010 No. 2 overall pick Tyler Seguin, imagine how ’07 first-round pick Zach Hamill must be feeling about his pecking order in the organization.
With two-plus pro seasons now under his belt, the center looks like he has been leapfrogged on the depth chart.
Hamill, who’ll be 22 by opening night, has endured stops and starts since leaving Everett of the WHL for the pro ranks. Injuries have slowed him at times, and then there’s the matter of his “compete level” (a favorite Bruins term), which can fluctuate over the course of a season.
Hamill has always had great on-ice vision and excellent offensive instincts. He has gotten stronger since his initial venture into the pro game, but can still bulk up and pick up his physical play at both ends of the rink. Although he was rewarded at the end of the year with a one-game NHL stint, his first, he struggled to put up 44 points (just 14 goals) in 75 games with the Providence (AHL) farm club. Engagement might be Hamill’s biggest challenge night in and night out.
While Hamill has the most pro experience among Boston’s top forward prospects, it would seem that his position could be the biggest thing holding him back. While Colborne and Seguin can shift out to the wing, Hamill is truly a pure center. With four legit NHL centers ensconced in Boston, it’d take some major moves by general manager Peter Chiarelli to open up a job for Hamill.
Depending on how the job battles play out this fall, and how Chiarelli clears the required cap space, Hamill could be in the mix for the fourth center’s job, could be back honing his skills another year with the P-Bruins, or serve as trade bait in a swap of prospects or as a sweetener in a deal to get another team to take one of Boston’s cap-hogging contracts.