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Elder Hamilton hopes to build off debut

Freddie Hamilton's first action of the season came on Saturday against the St. Louis Blues

by Aaron Vickers @AAVickers /

CALGARY, AB -- Game No. 6 for the Calgary Flames. 
Game No. 1 for Freddie Hamilton. 
It was a patient wait for the 24-year-old to make his season debut, but one worth it for the forward. 
"It felt nice," Hamilton said after Sunday's skate. "Obviously it's tough watching games. It's nice to go in and play with the team. It would've been nice to get the win, but I'm pretty happy with how I played."

It wasn't the most prolific of starts. 
Hamilton skated for just 11 shifts, and a total of 7:36. 
But it felt good nonetheless after serving as a healthy scratch for the first five games of the year. 

Video: The Flames forward talks about lineup tonight
"Camp was such go, go, go every day, and trying to make the team," Hamilton said. "Then it felt weird not playing after that. The coaches were really positive with me, trying to keep me ready. It's such a long season. So much can happy. There's still 70-something games left. 
"That's a ton of games. 
"You've just got to stay positive."
The review, which included a plus-1 rating, two hits and a couple of faceoff wins, was positive. 
Off the scoresheet is what impressed the most, suggested Flames coach Glen Gulutzan.
"Freddie played really solid yesterday," Gulutzan said. "He did some good things. He was physical. The one thing I didn't like in last night's game was how much crap Johnny (Gaudreau) took. It was like a home game for the other team. I thought Freddie responded to a couple of those things. 
"He was in the fabric of the game as far as he knew, he was aware of what was going on out there. He played very simple. That's what we need him to do. 
"He gives it his all. He's a good pro. He's spent three, four years in the minors. He wants to stay and he's doing all the right things. You can see it. He came in last night and did everything he could with the time he was given.
"He's going to work himself, hopefully, into a penalty kill role. I liked his game. He was dependable. When he goes out there and you know the guy's dependable it's a good place for a coach."
Dependable is what earned Hamilton a two-year, one-way contract to little fanfare in September. 

Video: COL@CGY: F. Hamilton registers first goal with Flames
"There were some guys more important than me that they needed to deal with," he suggested.
Dependable is what kept Hamilton on Calgary's 23-man roster to start the season 
"It is nicer starting in the NHL than the AHL, that's for sure," he added. 
But Hamilton, who has 34 career NHL games under his belt, including five with the Flames, doesn't want to settle on dependable. 
And, ideally, doesn't want to have to wait for Game No. 35.
"I think ultimately all you want to do is just keep working and keep getting better," he said. "I know I can improve and I'm trying to learn the NHL game. It does sound cliché, but it is about getting better and getting better in games."

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