Senators Rookie Profile: Wacey Hamilton

This is my seventh profile of a Senator rookie.

Wacey Hamilton, C, Contract: 0.9/14 (RFA)
FA 2011 (Murray), 5’10, Shoots L, YOB 1990, Cochrane, AB
2008-09 WHL 37-4-13-17 64pim (4 fights)
2009-10 WHL 67-24-47-71 100pim (2 fights)
2010-11 WHL 67-20-53-73 113pim (3 fights)

The captain of the Medicine Hat Tigers is coming off a career year where he finished third in scoring (finishing behind LA draft pick Linden Vey and Anaheim first-rounder Emerson Etem), Ottawa won the bidding war to sign Wacey Hamilton over as many as 10 other teams.  After signing Hamilton said, “There were other teams that offered sort of the same thing but we felt Ottawa was a really good fit. They are kind of rebuilding right now, so maybe there’s a bit more of an opportunity to get called up and make an impact at a younger age.  In the end my family and agent and I all felt it was the best fit.”  Tim Murray said the organisation projects him as a third-line center who can kill penalties (the6thsens.com/2011-articles/march/waceyhamiltonsigns 094994.html, the audio at the bottom).  Hamilton was draft-eligible in 2008, but as the 127th ranked North American by Central Scouting he went untouched.

Hamilton is an undersized energy player with some skill.  Darren Steinke (of the Medicine Hat News) had this to say: “Hamilton is strong in the faceoff circle and he is durable. During his career with the Medicine Hat Tigers, he became someone the team relied on, when the club needed to win a critical draw. Over the past two years, he has been extremely durable. He will play with all sorts to ailments to his body and not look out of place. The big thing he will need to work on to make the next level is consistency, and that is something that is a challenge to anyone coming out of junior. Over his past two seasons, Hamilton is as good of a two-way player as there is in major junior hockey. That said, the veterans in the professional ranks will exploit weaknesses or tendencies a junior never realized he had. The best way for Hamilton to overcome that problem is just go in there and play and not be afraid to fail. He has to learn from errors he makes, and that shouldn’t be a problem. As with all juniors, Hamilton will have to get physically stronger. There is a big difference between the body of a player that turns 21 in September compared to a seasoned 27-year-old NHL player.  Hamilton can be considered a power forward. He is pretty fearless and has no problem in battling in the hard areas in the corner or in front of the net to get a goal. He plays physical. Part of this goes to his leadership qualities too. As the Tigers captain, Hamilton always showed a pretty gritty work ethic, and the other players on the team see their captain selling out, so they fall in line quick.  Hamilton shouldn’t be pigeonholed as an offensive player. Besides collecting 144 points during his last two seasons with the Tigers, he was also a plus-44 in the plus-minus department. Besides playing the power play, he was also part of the Tigers penalty killing unit, and he was also always on the ice in the final minute of the third, when the Tabbies were closing out a game they led by one or two goals. It will be his defensive work that will likely land him a spot in the NHL one day.  I have covered the Tigers since September of 2004, and the team has had a lot of strong captains over that time. Out of that group of leaders, I would say Hamilton is the best captain the Tigers have had over that time. I hope that doesn’t get me in trouble, because I liked guys like Kris Russell, who is with the Columbus Blue Jackets, Brennan Bosch and Steve Marr, who were captains before Hamilton.  I always felt Hamilton had the best combination of being able to lead by example and say the right things to his teammates in the dressing room. Saying things in the dressing room doesn’t mean yelling out teammates, when things go wrong. He is good at sitting down and talking with struggling teammates to help build their confidence. Over the past two seasons, Hamilton was definitely the guys the other members of the Tigers pointed to as their leader. He was the Tigers captain for the past two seasons.”  His full interview can be found here: http://senshot.com/2011/07/16/prospect-profile-wacey-hamilton.

Hamilton will join Binghamton this year and when in the lineup will pivot the third or fourth line.  His best shot is to get Cody Bass‘ old spot centering the fourth line–both are gritty players, although Hamilton won’t fight as much.  While it’s possible Hamilton will see time in the NHL, specific players will have to go down to injury for that to happen.  In terms of his production in the AHL, assuming he stays healthy and plays a full season he should finish in the 15-20 point range.

Talking about signing with the Sens: http://video.senators.nhl.com/videocenter/console?id=102013
Hamilton
is on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/36hambone
Highlight package: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GhbH5iJ9xCU

Next up in NCAA free agent Pat Cannone.

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