WASHINGTON - APRIL 11: Zach Hamill #52 of the Boston Bruins warms up before the game against the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center on April 11, 2010 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
I should start by saying that no one (outside of the angry masses at HFBoards) has killed the Zach Hamill pick more than I have in the past. The Bruins had the 8th pick in the 2007 Draft and took TSN's 16th rated player. Hindsight is always 20/20 with draft picks, but a quick look at the players rated ahead of him that were still on the board (namely Ryan McDonagh and Kevin Shattenkirk) at a position of need, and it's safe to say that pick was an opportunity that went by the boards.
That being said, last night represented an interesting first in Zach Hamill's NHL career. Erik Cole's goal late in the 3rd period, was the first goal that an opposing team had scored while Hamill was on the ice in a Bruins uniform. Which also means last night was the first time in 10 games that Hamill was a minus player. That's not bad for a player whose time in Providence has been mostly underwhelming.
Hamill is going to be an interesting player to watch for the Bruins leading up the trade deadline this year. The Bruins boast an extremely deep forward unit 1-12. Where the biggest question mark resided was who could step up if one of the starting forwards went down to injury. At this point in the season, it looks like Hamill is going to be that guy. Unlike Jordan Caron, Hamill has demonstrated that he can play both Center and Wing competently at the NHL, and the fact that he appears to have seamlessly fit in on the 3rd and the 4th line makes him an ideal candidate to serve as the 13th forward while Caron gets some much needed playing time in Providence. We'll definitely need to see more of Hamill's play at the NHL level to come to any concrete conclusions about his value. His Relative Corsi is in the middle of the pack for Bruins forwards through 6 games, but his Corsi Relative to the Quality of Competiion is dead last (which isn't surprising given the level of ability of the guys ahead of him), that also could be partially due to the fact that only Gregory Campbell has a lower percentage of offensive zone starts, and no Bruin forward has a higher percentage of offensive zone finishes.
For a player who could have been claimed by any NHL team on waivers earlier in the season, the fact that Zach Hamill is finally providing the Bruins with some value is a definite bonus, and the potential exists that he could turn his career around from an all out draft bust and one of the few black marks in Peter Chiarelli's personnel record.