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February 10, 2013

Hamilton a cross between Chara and Blake

Johnny Boychuk didn’t hesitate when answering whether 19-year-old Bruins phenom Dougie Hamilton has the potential to someday be as good a defenseman as Zdeno Chara.

“He will be for sure,” Boychuk said. “I can see him being like a Rob Blake and Zdeno Chara — kind of like a cross between them. So that’s pretty good.”

That’s extremely good as Blake, the now-retired former captain of the Kings and Sharks, and Chara, the Bruins captain, have 13 All-Star Game selections and two Norris Memorial Trophy between them.

Hamilton, the ninth overall pick in the 2011 NHL draft, has fit in nicely with Boston since the first day of training camp. Actually, the morning of the Bruins’ season opener against the Rangers, Boston coach Claude Julien said Hamilton’s only weakness was a lack of experience.

That’s high praise.

Hamilton has impressed so far with his composure and poise handling the puck. He had four assists in nine games entering yesterday’s contest against Tampa Bay.

“He has a lot of patience and he sees the ice really well,” Boychuk said. “He’s going to be extremely good.”

Hamilton is expected to eventually become a shutdown defender who also can provide offense. He scored 40 goals and added 147 assists in 213 games over four seasons for the Niagara IceDogs of the Ontario Hockey League and was the Canadian Major Junior 2011-12 Defenseman of the Year with 72 points and a plus-37 plus/minus rating in 50 games.

Hamilton doesn’t remind Chara of himself at 19.

“He’s way better than I was at 19 — oh my God, yeah,” Chara said. “He’s got really good vision on the ice. He’s got the composure to make plays. Overall, he’s been really steady. He has the ability to skate at this level and at his size.”

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