Over the course of the next few weeks, we here at Stanley Cup of Chowder will be putting out a series of report cards; mostly on last year's players, and a few systems-specific ones. You may ask why we didn't release these immedately after last season ended, why they're coming out now when we're closer to the 2012-13 season than the end of the last one (technically, the halfway point is Wednesday, we can begin the countdown from 85 days to October 11).
One reason is time: many of us didn't have any. Another reason - it's admittedly difficult to pull yourself together when your team's just been eliminated in fine fashion. At this point in the offseason, coolheadedness prevails. And a third reason - we have a better idea of the shape of things to come. Free agency has begun, and we essentially know what our team will look like next year, with few exceptions.
So the report cards start now, and we'll begin with one player that won't be a part of next year's Bruins organization: Zach Hamill.
Taken #8 overall in the 2007 draft, Hamill has thus far appeared in 20 NHL games, and has four assists to show for it. Do yourself a favor and don't look at the first two rounds of that draft class. (Actually, do.) Hindsight is 20/20, I know, but the Bruins could have had Logan Couture, PK Subban, David Perron, Lars Eller, Keaton Ellerby, Kevin Shattenkirk...okay, done talking about the 2007 draft. (The first round set the tone for the rest of the draft; aside from Tommy Cross, none of the rest of the players drafted that year are in the Bruins' system any longer. Fail.)
Anyways. As this is not supposed to be a report card about Hamill's life, but a report card of last season and a projection of next season, let's take a look at his 11-12 stats. In the AHL this year, Hamill played 41 games and had 8-13-21 totals, an average of 0.51 ppg. This is actually a dropoff from the previous year, where he put up 0.63 ppg, and in fact the only year he was worse was his first pro season, where he scored at a rate of 0.4 ppg. Granted, all other seasons were a larger sample size; 41 games is fewer than any other season he's played since he turned pro.
Hamill played 16 games' worth of sheltered minutes in the NHL this year, bringing his total to 20 games played. His TOI of approximately 10 minutes per game yielded him two assists and no goals, bringing his total numbers to 0-5-5. At 24 years old, it's doubtful that Hamill will ever develop into anything more than an above-average AHL center, good for second line minutes (or in a pinch, first line.)
Luckily for the Bruins, he'll be doing so in Hershey. Boston traded his rights for Chris Bourque in May; aside from the sentimental value of having a Bourque in the system, the return for Hamill was about what the Bruins gave up: in 33 NHL games played, Bourque has one goal and three assists, although he puts up very decent numbers in the AHL (27-66-93 totals last season in 73 games with Hershey). He was also a part of two championship teams with Hershey in 2009 and 2010. If the Bruins' goal was to exchange average minor-league talent for experienced, championship-minded minor-league talent, then - success.
After four years of mediocrity, it's good to see Hamill get a change of scenery.
Grade: F (-)