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He returned to training camp this year weighing 215 pounds, and the difference in both his strength and speed was apparent. He shined at training camp, and if he continues playing the way he has been, it’s clear that this upcoming season will be a big one for the young defenseman. It’s this change – a bigger, stronger Hamilton – that has many people expecting a breakout year from the 21-year-old defenseman.
He’s been steadily increasing over the last few seasons, putting up seven goals and 18 assists in 64 games last season. He added two goals and five more assists during the playoffs, logged close to 20 minutes per game and consistently showed up to play – something that was noticeable among the playoff slumps within the team.
It clear that Hamilton has been putting in work in the off-season, as well. “This summer I worked pretty hard on my [skating] and my stride [and] the off-ice workouts as well. It’s important to improve your skating all the time. As a younger player it’s important to get better every single year, and not just to get satisfied with what you have. You always want to keep improving,” Hamilton said.
This increase in his strength adds a layer of intimidation to his defensive partnership with Zdeno Chara. With size and strength on their side, the pair is a force to be reckoned with. With Hamilton continuing to work on his speed and his skating, some of the defensive pressure is taken off of Chara – and this is a task that Hamilton is most certainly ready to handle.
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