Zach Hamill Placed on Waivers, Bruins May Have to Look Elsewhere for Depth Up Front

Zach Hamill Placed on Waivers, Bruins May Have to Look Elsewhere for Depth Up FrontZach Hamill's longest stint in the NHL could be coming to a close.

As first reported by TSN's Bob McKenzie, the Bruins placed the forward on waivers Monday. If he is not claimed by another team by noon Tuesday, it is expected that Hamill will be sent back down to Boston's American Hockey League affiliate in Providence.

Hamill has spent the bulk of his four professional seasons in Providence. He has struggled to live up to expectations after being taken by the Bruins with the eighth overall pick of the 2007 draft, but Hamill appeared to turn a corner this season before his play slipped in recent weeks.

Prior to this season, Hamill had played just four games in Boston, though he did not look out of place with a pair of assists and a plus-2 rating in those brief appearances. He again showed signs of promise when initially recalled this season, adding another assist and a plus-3 rating in two games in November, then another assist in his first game back against Los Angeles on Dec. 13.

But Hamill has not had a point in 13 games since, while being a healthy scratch in nine other games in that span. While he was still playing solid defensive hockey and creating chances even as the points dried up early in this latest stint with the big club, of late even those other elements of his game have been lacking.

Hamill is a minus-3 over his last six games and was benched for most of the third period in Saturday's 2-1 loss to Pittsburgh. He was then scratched on Sunday in Washington in favor of Jordan Caron, who was recalled on Saturday and made an immediate impact Sunday with four shots and some needed energy while adding size to the third line.

Hamill will be pushed down the depth chart even futher when Nathan Horton returns from a concussion, and the Bruins could also be looking to add depth up front in a deal before the trade deadline later this month.

Hamill could have been a part of a package for an upgrade or could have even made a case for the Bruins standing pat with what they have up front, but now he is available to every other team at no cost other than the assumption of the remainder of his $1.317 million cap hit. The Bruins will have to look at moving other assets if they want to add help to their forward corps.

The Bruins were already expected to be in the market for some experienced help up front, but Hamill's inability to lock down a permanent spot in Boston will make adding depth before the deadline an even bigger priority.

If Hamill goes unclaimed, the Bruins could face another decision with him this summer when he is due to become a restricted free agent. He could get another opportunity with a strong showing in Providence, where he has 43-89-132 totals in 240 games over the last four years.

Those numbers include 7-7-14 totals in 25 games this year. A natural center, Hamill was moved to wing this season by new Providence coach Bruce Cassidy and responded well to the change. He played primarily on the wing in Boston, but after his strong initial impression failed to sustain that momentum despite plenty of opportunities, averaging 10:59 of ice time in his 16 games with the big club but managing no goals and just 13 shots.

Have a question for Douglas Flynn? Send it to him via Twitter at @douglasflynn or send it here. He will pick a few questions to answer every week for his mailbag.

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