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Niagara defenseman Hamilton named OHL Scholastic Player of Year

by Mike G. Morreale

Niagara IceDogs defenseman Dougie Hamilton, NHL Central Scouting's No. 4-rated North American skater eligible for the 2011 Entry Draft in June, has been named the Ontartio Hockey League's Scholastic Player of the Year.

Hamilton, the first defenseman identified on Central Scouting's final report, had an exceptional season in Niagara with 12 goals, 58 points, a plus-35 rating and 77 penalty minutes. He currently leads the IceDogs in assists (12) and points (15) in 13 playoff games. Hamilton is also sporting an impressive plus-8 rating in the postseason.

"I've watched Dougie in the playoffs and he was dominant," OHL scout Chris Edwards said. "He was pinning guys down and his puck movement was great. I hadn't seen the physical side of his game before, not much of it anyway this year, but he was strong all game. He set up the first goal of game on a nice cross-ice to (Ryan) Strome. He moves the puck well, is a great decision-maker and he's a top two defensemen right now … probably will be in the NHL too."

Hamilton is preceded in the rankings by No. 1 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of Red Deer in the Western Hockey League, No. 2 Gabriel Landeskog of the OHL's Kitchener Rangers and No. 3 Jonathan Huberdeau of the Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL). Rounding out the top 10 are No. 5 Nathan Beaulieu of Saint John, No. 6 Sean Couturier of Drummondville (QMJHL), No. 7 Sven Baertschi of the Portland Winterhawks (WHL), No. 8 Ryan Strome of Niagara, No. 9 Ryan Murphy of Kitchener and No. 10 Duncan Siemens of the Saskatoon Blades (WHL).

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