I’ve decided to post the Curtis Hamilton RE next because he’s already been traded this summer, so whatever happens it won’t come as a surprise. I liked the Hamilton pick coming out of the draft, his scouting report reminded me of all those 2-way wingers the Habs had when I was a kid: Chuck Lefley, Murray Wilson, those types. Skilled with good size and speed, but also an idea about how to play without the puck. That kind of player can have terrific value.
It’s absolutely certain that the pro career of Curtis Hamilton has been frustrating for fans, and one would expect player and team aren’t thrilled either. Hamilton’s progess in the AHL (his totals in that league: 102, 10-10-20) suggests a fringe AHL player; 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.
HAMILTON’S RANKING OVER THE YEARS
- Summer 2010: #15. Stu MacGregor: “An extremely smart player, a great two way player. Strong, has good size, works hard along the boards. Very strong on the puck, has good vision, very good penalty killer. A guy who plays hard and smart.”
- Winter 2010: #6
- Summer 2011: #4
- Winter 2011: #8
- Summer 2012: #19
- Winter 2012: #19
- Summer 2013: not ranked
This is a guy who made a WJ team (scored 4 goals in 7 games), scored over 80 points in his final WHL season and has decent size (6.02, 214) for the pro game. What’s the problem? Well there are a couple.
- Two broken collarbones in his draft season
- Injured his knee in 2011-12, losing all games after Feb 22 but returning for two playoff games
OKC RE 13-14: 55, 10-10-20
The scouting report mentions that he doesn’t use his size enough, and I’ve been told that he’s not “in the play” enough to be a factor. That may have been a contributing factor for Hamilton’s inclusion (it was later revoked) in the Horcoff trade to Dallas. Bruce McCurdy did a nice profile of Hamilton earlier this summer and offered this opinion:
- McCurdy: By eye Hamilton impresses as a competent defensive player, at times reminding this observer of a young Fernando Pisani. That said, I never actually saw the young Fernando Pisani, who was 26 and nearly fully developed by the time he made the Oilers, having no doubt suffered many of his growing pains while playing four years of NCAA hockey. For a youngster like Curtis Hamilton who has chosen to go the major junior/minor pro route, the path of expectations is accelerated even as it can take years for someone of his player type to mature into a useful contributor. And in order to make it as a two-way guy, some sign of offence is still essential. 20 points in 102 pro games doesn’t cut it at any age.
One thing in his favor: attitude. Despite injury and lack of results, Hamilton remains upbeat about it, saying “It’s been two years now and I hope this coming year I get more of an opportunity and more responsibility on this team. There will be a bit of turnover and some better opportunities for myself.”
Oiler fans will be cheering for Hamilton. His back story (WJ, strong final season) deserves some good chapters at the pro level. Hopefully we see it this coming season. (Photo by Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved).