Hamilton/By S. Bradley

Team Canada was relegated to the bronze medal game after a semifinal loss to Russia last night at the 2012 World Junior Championship.

While that’s a bit of a disappointment, several of the top NHL prospects who were wearing the maple leaf this week impressed scouts. Among those that stood out were Bruins prospect Dougie Hamilton.

Boston’s 2011 first-round pick definitely impressed ESPN.com scout Grant Sonier. In a recap of his thoughts on several of the top performers in the Canada-USA game from Sunday, Sonier wrote the following about Hamilton:

Was a force all night using his elite size and near perfect positional play. His ability to read and break up plays combined with excellent stick skills was too much for the talented U.S. players in this game. Hamilton has an offensive element to his game, but I thought he was tentative to show those qualities on a few rushes. Sky is the limit with this big future Bruin.

Scouts’ takes are all subjective. But this is great news for the Bruins, who already said they expect Hamilton, who signed his first pro contract earlier this season, to challenge for a job on their blue line next fall. Performing well against the best players in his world in his own age group is a great first step toward making the leap to the NHL.