So before we get started on this scouting report on our very own Dougie Hamilton, I'll have to apologize in advance if this isn't too good, I'm new at this.
Anyway, a speedy introduction; I'm a Rhode Island born, New Hampshire raised life-long Bruins fan, whose father used to take his life in his hands to watch Bruins-Habs games with the French Canadian family down the street in Cumberland, RI back in the Orr-Esposito days, so the B's are in my blood. That said, I currently live in Sudbury, Ontario and don't get to see much Bruins hockey unless they're playing the Habs or Leafs on HNIC. But, I did have the very good fortune to see our very own Dougie Hamilton of the Niagara Ice Dogs last night playing the Sudbury Wolves, so below the jump I've got a few thoughts on the game and his play. Again, I'm new at this and make no promises about the quality of my report.Anyway, I went into the game honestly not knowing too much about Dougie, apart from the fact that by all accounts he was A) Really good, B) Pretty darn big, and C) Scoring at an almost unbelievable pace from the blue line. It was not long at all before I was able to see all this for myself.
First off, the kid is huge. Friggin gigantic- the Ice Dogs are a big team to begin with, most of them tower over the munchkin-like Wolves, but Dougie is on another level entirely- to give you some idea, he is head and shoulders taller than his older brother Freddie, who is taller than average himself. This makes Dougie really stand out on the ice, and at times it almost looks like hes playing against Timbits players [note: gross hyperbole]. But on top of that, he can really move. He skates fast and gracefully, with fantastic dekes past opposing players while dangling the puck like its attached to his stick. More than anything his puck handling stood out for me to be fully honest- probably the best on the ice, and thats saying a lot, what with two other first round picks from last year on the team (Ryan Strome (NYI, 8th overall) and recent trade acquisition Jamie Oleksiak (DAL, 14th overall), both of whom are forwards.
I was extremely impressed with Dougie's playmaking on top of that- 2 of his 3 assists last night were the sole assist on his brother Freddie's 2 goals (incidentally I think the Sharks won big scoring him in the third round in 2010 based on what I saw, but this isn't about Freddie). His passing and eyes for the play were excellent- both on even strength and on the power play- I think he might finally be that PP quarterback we've been needing and were told that first Kaberle and now Corvo would be. Sadly I didn't see the kid score any goals himself (and he can score even though hes mostly a playmaker- he's 12-37-49 in only 33 games this season), but he did have a few booming slappers from the point, which sadly the Wolves very talented goaltender Johan Mattsson (of the Swedish WJC team) stopped. Ah, such is the way it goes.
Defensively, Hamilton could use perhaps a little work- I will say his backcheck is good, and he seems to know where to be on the ice, but doesn't seem to use his big body quite enough, although that might be because he is either not quite 'grown into' it, so to speak, or is afraid of injuring other players, but I did see him throw a few nice hits in his own end. His stick handling, however, does seem to extend past controlling the puck though, as he did almost effortlessly take the puck right off an opponent's stick a few times- at least once the other guy didn't realize it had happened. The only catch I saw was that it was Dougie's defensive pairing that as on ice for the Wolves' second goal, but nobody's perfect and the kid has room for growth.
All in all, I was very impressed, and he really looked like he doesn't belong in the juniors. I have every confidence that he will be wearing the spoked B in the 2012-2013 season, which will give (IMHO) to save some cash and let Corvo walk in the off season.
Cheers to all and GO BRUINS!!!