Canucks Bring in Secret Agent, Ink Zach Hamill To Two-Way Deal

Image via Days of Y’Orr.

Don’t let the blank look on Zach Hamill’s face (pictured above) fool you: he has seen things, and he knows things. After all, he did spend five years in the Boston Bruins organization, including 20 games spanning three seasons with the big club. Unless he has been brought in by Mike Gillis and co. to spill the beans on what they’ve got going on over there, I don’t see very much reason to care about the fact that the Canucks have signed the Port Coquitlam native to a 1-year, two-way contract.

Read on past the jump for more on the newest member of the organization.

To be honest, if Hamill isn’t divulging other teams’ secrets, then I don’t know very much about him (other than the fact that when you type his name into the Google search bar, the phrase "Zach Hamill bust" is the 3rd thing that comes up). That’s why I’ll let friend of the blog Corey Pronman take it away – who listed Hamill as the 10th best prospect in the Bruins organization two summers ago – with a breakdown: 

The Good: Zach Hamill has plus puck skills and the ability to do things out of the ordinary with the puck. He’s very creative and can make life hectic for defenders when they try to take him one-on-one in open ice. Hamill is a plus passer who can make difficult seeing eye distributions regularly and has the kind of vision that gives scouts the impression he has eyes in the back of his head. He has all the offensive ability to dominate a game and create highlight reel plays. 

The Bad: Where do I begin with the former top ten pick? His skating doesn’t really impress and I wouldn’t say it barely touches NHL-average on a good day, and when you consider his size being below-average, his mobility really hurts him. Hamill’s height/weight listing is generous as he looks much smaller on the ice and it looks like he’s made marginal physical development since his draft season. He’s not strong on the puck and has all the indications of a perimeter player and well below-fringe physical player. His defensive game has shown some progression and he will show noticeable effort there, but don’t think he can play a two-way NHL center effectively.

Projection: A second line winger in a perfect world, but I don’t think he can play a bottom-six role so it’s score or bust for him now and it’s very much starting to look like the latter.

That’s a rather grim synopsis, wouldn’t you say? Obviously the only reason his name still holds any weight is because of the fact that he was a top 10 pick in 2007 (8th overall, to be precise).

This tweet by Mike Halford sums up that blunder by the Bruins’ scouting staff pretty well. Other than Logan Couture, here are some other names that were selected after Hamill, that you may have heard of: Ryan McDonagh, Lars Eller, Kevin Shattenkirk, Max Pacioretty, David Perron, Brendan Smith, PK Subban, Wayne Simmonds, and Patrick White (kidding!).

Anyways, don’t expect to hear much from Hamill this season. He’ll likely fill a role as a depth player in Utica, and that’ll be that. I’ve seen some fans of the team freaking out on Twitter over this, which is more than a little silly. NHL clubs do these sorts of things all of the time, and they fly under the radar. It’s common practice to bring in depth players on two-way deals.

While this is a transaction that ultimately has no risk attached to it, I’m left scratching my head trying to figure out why the Canucks viewed Gilbert Brule as a "reduntant" player that they were unwilling to bring in on a tryout basis, only to go and bring in someone like Hamill. Confusing.

(Oh yeah, Colin Stuart was signed, too.)

  • BrudnySeaby

    Well, they still need to fill out the Utica roster, right? So that’s probably why. Also, perhaps Canucks management feels a Brule brings with him too much baggage from the past.

  • antro

    Maybe Hamill is supposed to serve as a warning in Utica for what happens to (top-10) draft picks that don’t work hard to get bigger and improve their skating?

    Head scratcher, I agree. But there’s probably a limited number of NHL-marginal players willing to take a two-way contract.

  • elvis15

    I’d guess they weren’t going to try and stick Brule with a spot on an AHL team when he might be able to get on with an NHL roster somewhere else. Lets’ put it this way, both are redundant for the CAnucks at the NHL level, but Hamill is at least useful in the AHL.

    • Mantastic

      Brule was very useful in the AHL… Brule offers more than the canucks current 3rd and 4th line center, i don’t see him being redundant in their system.

  • Mantastic

    Who knows what Brule is asking for though? Maybe he wants a million plus for some crazy reason. Or maybe he’s dead-set on a one-way deal. I guess Gillis did say he hadn’t even though of Brule, but the only reason Canucks fans are even thinking of him is because they treasure former Giants players for some reason. I guess that’s why everyone was so sad to see Connauton go…oh wait, no one was sad…

    • Dimitri Filipovic

      a) Brule accepted an invite to a training camp on a tryout basis. I doubt he was exactly in the position to be making any sort of demands.

      b) Brule has shown that – despite not being worth a 6th overall pick – he can be an effective NHL player, and be an asset on the third line. He could be had for peanuts. That’s why Canucks fans were thinking of him (rather than because he’s a former Giant, though I’m sure that doesn’t hurt).

    • pheenster

      Honestly, I think Gillis did consider Brule and then he did his homework. I don’t wanna talk trash but I knew Brule back when he played for the Giants and, back then anyway, he had more than just daddy issues. If he cleaned up that part of his life, then I think the Canucks should take a chance on him ’cause he has a lot of talent. If not, then I think he could be a terrible influence on a team that is getting younger and therefore, potentially more impressionable.

  • Mantastic

    Not hard to see what the Bruins are doing. They play a smart disciplined system, the Canucks play like they’re clueless and can not adapt. The Hawks solved Boston and Chara, I would advise the Canucks and their fans to simply watch those games to learn. But when do the Canucks ever care about learning from their mistakes?

    Everyone talks about this player and that plaer coming and what they can do, but no player can come into a club without direction or a system and make any impact. You could have put mario or Gretzky in their prime on AV’s Canucks and they still would have choked out. It’s not one plaer, one move, it’s the right system, folks.