Like last year’s No. 2 overall pick Tyler Seguin before him, 2011 Bruins first-round draft pick Dougie Hamilton is joining a winning organization with no pressure to step in and make a difference at the NHL level right away.
Unlike some No. 9 overall picks that might go to a perennial also-ran, Hamilton’s landed with the defending Stanley Cup champions, who sport the kind of depth that will make it easy for the Niagara (OHL) defenseman to develop at his own pace.
“I don’t think there’s really any pressure for me,” he said today after the first day of the Bruins’ fifth annual development camp at Ristuccia Arena. “I want to be an NHL player and I’m working as hard as I can to make that happen. But I think whatever the staff wants to do with me and whatever’s best for my development, I’m happy with that. I just want to be a dominant player in the NHL one day, and whatever it’s going to take is about it.”
While Hamilton doesn’t have the weight of expectations for an early impact in the NHL on his shoulders, he’s hoping that part of his development into an impact player involves putting some weight on the rest of his 6-foot-4 frame. He’s listed at 193 pounds. While he doesn’t have a target weight, he doesn’t plan on passing up too many meals going forward.
“I’ve gained a lot of weight over the summer, too,” the 18-year-old explained. “And over the last couple years I’ve grown so much it’s kind of been hard to fill out and fill into my body. But I’ve been uncoordinated at points just because of the growth, but right now I’m just trying to stay strong. I guess you don’t really need to be that big if you’re strong, but it’ll definitely be nice to put on some weight.”
Despite his “weight disadvantage” Hamilton was able to hold his own during his first hour-long on-ice session of camp.
“It was definitely pretty fast out there. A lot of older guys and pretty strong [guys],” he said. “It’s pretty fun to get out there in the middle of the summer and skate at full speed because you don’t really do that much since the end of the season. So it’s good to get back out there.”
The workouts figure to get tougher before camp breaks next Monday. Hamilton figures to shed a few pounds as things get more rigorous, but at least he’s not carrying around the weight of the world. That allows him a clear mind so he can just soak up as much knowledge as he can before he heads in search of more bulk.