2011 NHL Draft Grades: Boston Bruins Get A Gift In Dougie Hamilton

Dougie Hamilton wasn't supposed to be available when the Boston Bruins' name was called in Friday night's first round of the NHL draft. 

Really, he wasn't even supposed to be available when the brand-new, old-fashioned Winnipeg Jets went two picks before him. 

But because Winnipeg the Ottawa Senators went off the board with their picks, there he was. All the talk of the Bruins drafting Ryan Murphy or Nathan Beaulieu quickly dissipated, and the Bruins had their man ("it was a no-brainer," said Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli, who admitted that Hamilton was in the Bruins' top five before the Edmonton Oilers announced their first pick of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins). 

There were rumors that the Bruins might be trading the pick for Nashville defenseman Ryan Ellis, a superstar offensive blue-liner who racked up 100 points with the Windsor Spitfires last season, but as Hamilton continued to drop down the board, the Bruins had less and less reason to make the move. 

And they didn't. And there was Hamilton, donning a Bruins sweater and taking pictures with Peter Chiarelli, Cam Neely and friends. 

Unlike Tyler Seguin last year, Hamilton probably won't make the team out of camp this year. He'll return to Niagara and the OHL, where he put up 12-46=58 totals and was a plus-35. He'll have another year to improve his game (Chiarelli said that he needs to gain some more strength to play at the NHL level).

Hamilton brings speed, vision, a strong breakout pass and the ability to quarterback a power play. At 6-foot-4 and 194 pounds, he also brings the element of size and physicality to a Bruins' defensive corps that gets small in a hurry after Zdeno Chara

It's tough not to give the Bruins high marks for getting Hamilton - but then, they did nothing other than drafting the best player available to get there. Hamilton himself has a high ceiling - his projected upside is a number-one NHL defenseman, but it'll take him some time to get there. He gets a B+ at this point, especially after struggling in the OHL Eastern Conference Championships last year when St. Michael's keyed on him and shut him down (2 points, minus-three), but Bruins fans should expect him to play at an A level once he acclimates to the NHL. 

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