No one can accuse Bruins first-round draft pick Dougie Hamilton of setting the bar low for his potential development into an NHL star.
When asked to compare his game to previous NHL standouts, Hamilton looked toward the top of the list.
“Guys like [Jay] Bouwmeester, [Rob] Blake, [Brent] Burns. I think I’m a big, complete defenseman and I can skate well, pretty physical, and make good passes and contribute offensively as well,” said the 18-year-old after the Bruins picked him No. 9 overall at tonight’s NHL Entry Draft in St. Paul, Minn.
If Hamilton can develop into a player that can be mentioned in the same breath as the players he named, the Bruins will have gotten a steal.
There’s no telling if his development will include a stint in Boston next season or another year with Niagara of the OHL.
“I have no idea,” he said. “It depends what the Bruins want to do and I’ll be happy with whatever.”
What the Bruins do in free agency and the lack of a performance-bonus cushion will probably have a say in what the Bruins do with Hamilton. But after several years of using their first-round picks on forwards, the Bruins finally have themselves a blue-chip defenseman.
“He’s still fairly skinny. Has to be stronger. But you never know. … But my guess is he’d still be one year away,” said Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli.
The Bruins hope he can thrive on the ice the way he did in the classroom. He was the OHL Scholastic Player of the Year. Here’s what the OHL press release said about that:
Hamilton … attends Governor Simcoe Secondary School in St. Catharines where he maintains an overall academic average of 94% in six Grade 12-level courses including marks of 97% in Calculus, 95% in Physics, 95% in Personal and Fitness, 92% in English, 92% in Biology, and 91% in Chemistry.
Although Hamilton didn’t visit Boston for an interview, he attended Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final. And he was impressed with the TD Garden fans.
“The fans were crazy, which is good to see,” said Hamilton.
He said he was still picturing the Garden crazies when he was picked by the Bruins. If he develops into the player he and the Bruins think he can become, they’ll be going nuts for Dougie Hamilton not too long from now.