WILMINGTON, Mass. – The Bruins won’t be parting ways with Zach Hamill just yet.
The eighth overall pick of the 2007 draft cleared waivers on Tuesday and will remain with the organization. He’s not expected to remain with the big club though. The Bruins did not make an immediate announcement after Hamill cleared at noon, but Hamill is expected to be sent down to their American Hockey League affiliate in Providence after not practicing with the NHL club on Tuesday.
Hamill started his most recent stint in Boston strong with assists in two of his first three games with the big club. But he did not have another point in his final 13 games, and the other elements of his game declined as well. He was benched for most of the third period against Pittsburgh on Saturday, then was a healthy scratch Sunday in Washington before being placed on waivers on Monday.
Despite his recent struggles and the team’s willingness to expose him to being picked up by any other team in the league, Bruins coach Claude Julien remains optimistic about Hamill’s future.
"I just think he needs to get a little bit stronger,” Julien said after Tuesday’s practice. "He’s a guy that’s capable of making plays. He’s a smart individual. He came up and really had a good strong showing. But the thing is about trying to maintain that level of play. Sometimes it drops, and sometimes it drops because they don’t get to play much. They get to be healthy scratches and we’ve got to send them back to find their game again.
"But I really like a lot of things he did," Julien added. "He sees the ice well. He understands the system very well. He’s a smart player. Probably the one thing is the strength he needs to keep working on and the consistency of keeping the level of play where it was when he first came here."
Jordan Caron replaced Hamill in the lineup on Sunday and provided a needed spark. He used his size to effect and finished with four shots on net in a solid showing upon his return from Providence.
"[He was] better," Julien said. "I thought he skated more with the puck and obviously had a couple of good point-blank chances there. So he was a little bit more involved. This is what we asked him to do and he went to Providence and kind of found that part of his game. Right now with these guys that are coming up it’s about being able to maintain it. I liked his first game and hopefully he’ll follow up with another game like that."
Caron was pleased with his effort, but having witnessed what happened with Hamill and having been shuttled back and forth from Providence several times already this season, he knows the key to remaining in Boston is maintaining that level of play.
"I felt pretty good," Caron said. "I thought I had a pretty good game. The whole team played really good. I was happy with the way the game was played.
"I just want to play hard and play my game," Caron added. "Keep things simple, and if I do that, I’ll be fine."