When it comes to prospects, the entry level contract represents the time clock on an NHL career. For the 2010 draft picks (especially the forwards) this coming season is vitally important, and for Curtis Hamilton the road to a second Oiler contract is a long one.
Hamilton is not progressing, he is not forcing his coach to play him more and he is not building the kind of resume that will get him a contract with another NHL team should the Oilers choose to walk away. This after a very good final season in junior hockey and a solid WHL career:
Hamilton’s progess in the AHL (his totals in that league: 102, 10-10-20) suggest a fringe AHL player, and also suggest that either the scouting department missed the boat (Hamilton is a second round pick, #48 overall), the AHL coaching staff was unable to develop him, or the player himself has been so uninspiring that playing him more would have been negligent.
A year from now, it probably doesn’t matter. There is, however, a price to pay. The organization badly needs “value contracts” of the type Curtis Hamilton could provide if he had progressed at a normal 2nd round rate. That cost will impact the player and the team, and if too many of these fails occur in a short space of time, the minor league coach and the amateur procuring department.
The problem is you develop a past.
(photo by Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved).