Reilly Smith may have won the Bruins Seventh Player Award for the regular season, but if there was one player who showed major improvement to his game in the Bruins first round playoff series against the Red Wings, it was none other than Dougie Hamilton.
The 20-year-old is in just his second season with the Bruins, but has already made major strides since his debut with the Bruins during the lockout-shortened campaign of 2012-13.
Hamilton played 64 games and scored seven goals and 18 assists in the regular season, but took his game to a whole new level in the first round of the playoffs.
Playing in the starting defensive pairing with captain Zdeno Chara, Hamilton tallied a goal and three assists in the five games while putting in strong contributions to a rock-solid defense that allowed just six goals throughout the series.
Hamilton also made a few highlight reel plays of his own, including his power play wrister that beat Jimmy Howard in the Bruins’ Game 3 win in Detroit and his strong puck-handling and passing that led to LouI Eriksson’s power play score in Game 5.
Since the Bruins took him with the No. 9 overall pick in the 2011 Entry Draft, Hamilton has faced great expectations to become a star in Boston, and if his play continues to improve as it did in this series, then Hamilton could be an anchor on the next great Bruins defense for the foreseeable future.