Teach me how to Dougie…Dougie Hamilton, that is
The 19-year-old Canadian came to Boston with one thing to prove: He belongs in the NHL. Since being signed back in the 2011 entry player draft, Dougie Hamilton‘s name has been thrown around a lot…in a good way.
The chatter around Boston is that Hamilton is the next big thing since Tyler Seguin, and his career thus far may just prove that statement to be true.
Although he was technically drafted in 2011, he didn’t report to the Bruins right away. Hamilton spent the past few years in the Ontario Hockey League, playing for the Niagra IceDogs. From the 2009 through the 2012 seasons, he scored a total of 32 goals and 114 assists in the regular season. In the playoffs, Hamilton had 9 goals and 31 assists.
During the NHL lockout, Hamilton continued to play for the IceDogs. When the lockout finally came to an end, it was time for Hamilton to make his NHL debut.
He signed an entry-level contract with the Boston Bruins and had the first five games of the 2013 season to prove himself to the team.
In the home opener against the New York Rangers on Jan. 19, Hamilton had 13:21 of ice time with two shots on goal but no assists or goals.
Arguably his best game yet was on Jan. 21 against the Winnipeg Jets. He had 23:21 of ice time, second only to captain Zdeno Chara. He had three shots on goal for the Bruins. While he did not have any goals or assists, he played one of the best defensive game.
Hamilton had his first assist against the Rangers on Jan. 23. Coach Julien said he was beyond proud of Hamilton, even though the team lost its first game of the season.
“Anybody who watched the game had to see that this guy was outstanding,” Julien told reporters. “Not good…outstanding. He was so poised and confident, and if anybody thinks he can’t play in this league, they should take some time and watch this game.”
Hamilton did well against the Rangers, but he really proved himself when the Bruins hosted the New York Islanders on Jan. 25. Hamilton had two assists and two shots on goal. His natural abilities seemed to come out a lot with these two assists. In case you missed them, take another look:
Everyone in TD Garden started chanting “Dougie, Dougie” in the third period. They even played “Teach me how to Dougie” after the next whistle. Hamilton’s teammates were excited about his game, too.
“Looking at him now it’s pretty amazing that he got passed up eight times to go ninth overall in the 2011 draft,” Milan Lucic said. “We’re real fortunate to have him. He’s got a lot of skill, he’s got a lot of poise, he plays with a lot of confidence.”
Moving forward to the Bruins versus the Carolina Hurricanes game, it was Hamilton’s fifth and final game to prove to Bruins management that he deserved to stay.
The team decided that Hamilton was a good fit and would shine in the NHL.
“I’ve informed Dougie Hamilton that he’ll be staying with us for the duration of the year,” said general manager Peter Chiarelli. “He was happy to hear it. I’d suggested to him over the last few days that there was a real good chance, to try and put his mind at ease. I told him, ‘Lookit, things are going well, don’t screw it up.’
“We really like his composure, and his vision of the game, and how he moves the puck. He’s been extremely good for us,” said Coach Julien.
Having only played in six NHL games, Hamilton is still looking for that first goal and maybe he will find it tonight against the Buffalo Sabres. Hamilton certainly has proved himself worthy of being a Bruin and he is only going to get better as the season moves forward.
“I don’t know what more to say about this guy, but I think his teammates are seeing the Dougie Hamilton everyone projected,” explained Julien. “Right now we’ve got to keep him going with lots of confidence because that’s what he’s shown and we’ve got to keep that going.”
Looking at his past and what he has been able to do so far with the Bruins, saying that Hamilton is the next big thing in the NHL may not be that far off. In fact, if he keeps playing the way he has, those Hamilton jerseys are sure to fly off the shelf faster than you can learn how to dougie.