Boston has roared out to a 3-0-1 start to the 2013 regular season and for the most part, we know what to expect from a majority of these guys since they have been on the team for years. However, Bruins rookie defenseman Dougie Hamilton has only played four games in the NHL so it’s a little early to start writing a speech for his induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. Still, on a team full of veterans and established NHL players that is a legitimate Stanley Cup contender, the 19-year-old has already left a big impression on his teammates and coaches alike. He’s tied for the team lead with three points (three assists) and he’s coming off a two-assist night (his first career multi-point game) and first star on Friday in a 4-2 win over the Islanders.
“He’s been real great for us,” said left wing Milan Lucic. “You can tell that he’s got a lot of confidence and skill. You can see why he was a highly touted player before he came to the NHL so we’re really lucky and fortunate to have him. Let’s hope he keeps progressing.”
The Bruins travel to Carolina on Monday for their fifth game of the season. That is an important date for Hamilton because he had five short games to impress Boston’s front office or else he’d be sent back to juniors for more seasoning. The Bruins have plenty of depth in terms of defensemen with Aaron Johnson being a healthy scratch, not to mention Matt Bartkowski, Torey Krug and David Warsofsky in Providence. It’s safe to say that Hamilton can unpack his bags in Boston though and start finding an apartment because he won’t be going anywhere for a while. What’s most impressive is that he’s had three different defensive partners already but that hasn’t seemed to rattle him as he’s turned in better performances in each game.
“He’s been playing since September, with his junior team then at the World Junior Tournament (for Canada),” said Bruins head coach Claude Julien after Friday night’s win. “We like his size and the way he can move down the ice, he has good hockey sense. You have to be pleased and impressed with him.”
There will obviously be bumps in the road for Hamilton-bad games, mistakes, injuries and losses-but for now, Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli’s master plan is unfolding perfectly to seamlessly plug Hamilton onto this team. Hamilton was Boston’s first round (9th overall) pick way back in 2011, he is the last tangible piece of the Phil Kessel trade with Toronto (which also netted Tyler Seguin and minor league forward Jared Knight). It only took the Garden’s DJ three home games to figure out that “Teach Me How To Dougie,” the one-hit wonder by Cali Swag District, needed to become a staple of any Bruins related playlist.
So there he was, sitting on the Bruins bench after Patrice Bergeron had put Boston up 4-2 late in the third period, all started by the rookie’s splendid breakout pass. He sheepishly grinned when the Jumbotron showed him as the song played, he’s probably heard it for years. What are the odds a professional athlete would be named Dougie after all?
He might be too young to have a post-game adult beverage at Sully’s Tap or The Harp but it is a good time to be Dougie Hamilton in Boston.