If there’s a shelf life for a first-round draft pick, even an eighth overall selection, Zach Hamill has probably exceeded it with the Bruins now.
The upcoming restricted free agent most likely needs a change of scenery to have any chance to make a name for himself in the NHL after he failed to meet the expectations thrust on him by the Bruins in 2007 over his first four professional seasons.
Hamill got his most extensive look as a NHLer this season and recorded just two assists, and no goals, in 16 games as both a center and a winger. Hamill’s progress up the organization was originally hindered by both his inability to develop and the team’s depth down the middle. The change in positions, however, did little to boost his ability to contribute at the game’s highest level.
Hamill’s season was ended in March by a shoulder injury, and in 41 games for Providence of the American Hockey League he produced just 8-13-21 totals in 41 games. There should be at least a couple teams with bottom-six forward openings that’ll take a chance on Hamill this summer.
Regular season: 16GP, 0-2-2, plus-3
Playoffs: Injured in AHL & not recalled to Boston
Contract status: RFA 2012
Regular season recap
Highlight: In his season debut with Boston, Zach Hamill stole a breakout pass and set up a goal by Jordan Caron Nov. 10 in a 6-3 win against Edmonton. He also drew two penalties and fired two shots on goal in 9:27 of ice time.
Lowlight: After recording two assists in his first three games with Boston, Hamill did not record a point over his next 13 appearances before being demoted back to Providence.
Playoff recap: Hamill was out with an injured shoulder with the P-Bruins’ season ended.
Grade: D. The first official first-round pick of Peter Chiarelli Era (he wasn’t completely on the job in 2006) will always be known as a bust, but luckily Boston’s scouting department has done a better job finding talent since that night in Ottawa in 2007.
Carnac predicts … Hamill won’t be tendered a qualifying offer and will find a bottom-six job on a non-contending team somewhere this season.