Ever since his AHL debut at the end of the 2007-08 season, Zach Hamill
has posted strong numbers for the Providence Bruins.
But this season Hamill may have found the key to unlocking a whole new level of success: a position change.
A center for most of his hockey career, Hamill has recently made the move to right wing and according to his numbers thus far, the shift in position was the right prescription to make Hamill a stand out forward.
Skating with linemates Carter Camper
and Lane MacDermid
, Hamill has registered six goals and five assists for the P-Bruins, but the forward admitted that the transition to the wing actually led to a slow start to the season.
"The first couple of games were a struggle with something new," said the 8th overall pick of the 2007 NHL Draft. "As time has gone on it's been pretty good."
Hamill is being modest and during the new winger's two game call-up to Boston, Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien talked about Hamill's switch and gave approval of his work on the outside.
"You’ve got to give him credit because he’s played center most of his career," said Julien. "How he’s adapted to the wing so quickly is pretty amazing, so he deserves a lot of credit for that."
Hamill explained that Providence Head Coach Bruce Cassidy helped give him the confidence to make the switch.
"[Cassidy]’s been great to me since day one," said Hamill. "He has stuck with me there and taught me [the position]."
During his time with Boston in early November, Hamill showed great improvement from September's training camp as he filled in for an injured Rich Peverley
"I think my strength and my speed is two things I really focused on... and I think my speed is definitely something I'm getting better at," he said.
Hamill utilized those skills to help the Boston Bruins to a 6-3 victory over the Oilers on Nov. 10.
In his first NHL game of the 2011-2012 campaign, Hamill registered an assist on a goal from former P-Bruins linemate Jordan Caron
, drew two penalties on Edmonton and earned high praise from Boston's head coach.
"He’s a skilled player; he can make plays,” said Julien. "That’s something we already knew, but how smart he was all over the ice, and the decisions he made, where he was positionally and all that stuff.
"To me, he played like a veteran tonight."
Although he was assigned to Providence after his two games with Boston, Hamill, now a seasoned pro, proved he remains a valuable asset in the Bruins system.
"He stood tall when it was time to stand tall," said Julien. "It certainly feels comfortable when you’re able to bring a guy up like that and he’s able to handle himself the way he did."
For his part, Hamill intends to be patient and continue to improve in Providence.
"It’s just trying and come in here every day and get better as a player and go forward from there,” he said. ---Amanda Ostuni