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Future Watch: Curtis Hamilton

Kelowna, BC native Curtis Hamilton enjoys a resurgent season in Saskatoon

Thursday, 03.03.2011 / 5:45 PM / Future Watch
By Ryan Dittrick  - edmontonoilers.com
Curtis Hamilton skates at Rexall Place during Wednesday night's game against the Edmonton Oil Kings.

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The 2010 NHL Entry Draft was, perhaps, considered the turning point in Curtis Hamilton’s hockey career. In his third full season with the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades, Hamilton endured an injury-plagued 2009-10 season in which he was limited to only 26 games.

Heading into this past June’s draft, Hamilton was somewhat of a wild card. His offensive game was still developing, but his overall ranking had diminished throughout the year due to his time on the sidelines.

Along came Edmonton with the 48th overall selection, looking to make a splash in what was widely considered to be the organization’s most critical event of the post-season. With dynamic forwards on the mind of the Oilers’ scouting staff, the selection was made and Curtis Hamilton was the newest addition to the Oilers family.

At the time, Hamilton was still an unknown commodity. His abbreviated season in Saskatoon allowed others to pull ahead in the rankings, but Head Amateur Scout Stu MacGregor was sure he had found a gem.

Seven months have passed since Hamilton’s name was called at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Since that time, the smooth-skating 19-year old has upped his development into overdrive with experiences that feature a terrific performance at the 2011 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship, and a breakout offensive season with the Blades.

Even with that turnaround experience in mind, Hamilton is "taking it all in stride" as he looks to continue developing into an NHL-ready prospect.

"It was a lot of fun," Hamilton said of the World Junior experience. "Getting the chance to play with Canada's elite players under the age of 20, it was a lot of fun and it will be an experience I'll never forget."

His invitation to join the Canadian squad wouldn’t have come without his breakout season in Saskatoon. Although his offensive numbers have been steeply rising this year, he credits much of his success to his veteran status and for being given a greater opportunity in his expertly crafted two-way role.

"I think I'm given a little more of an opportunity this year, you know, this being my fourth year here. Obviously last year I had a lot of injury problems and whatnot, but this year I've stayed healthy, I guess, and have had a lot of success that way."

"It’s been kind of a whirlwind with everything that’s gone on in the past year," remarked a smiling Hamilton.

"The team's doing really well and that was a big part of it this year. I got a chance to play at the World Juniors, too, which was awesome and being drafted to the Oilers was a big part of it, too. Like I said, I'm just taking it in stride and I'm having a lot of fun with it."

According to Hamilton, linemates have also provided greater opportunity with his offensive game. Shortly after the World Juniors wrapped up in Buffalo, Canada’s top-scorer Brayden Schenn was shipped to Saskatoon to pair up with Hamilton and recreate their wizardry against WHL competition.

"I'm pretty fortunate to get to play with him. You just have to make sure that you're always ready for the puck when you're skating with him. He's just such an amazing player."

Even with an extensive two-way arsenal that punctuates his offensive creativity, Hamilton is still his most honest critic. He recognizes his most essential areas of improvement for him to develop into an NHL player someday soon.

"I think I just need to get stronger," Hamilton explained. "It's kind of the main thing, because the NHL game is a lot quicker. I've got to improve my foot speed, probably, is the main thing. But obviously just kind of strength overall and mental toughness would probably be part of it, too."
 
Developing these areas are especially important now, as Hamilton believes the timing of his uprising could be especially beneficial for the rebuilding Oilers squad.

"I think come draft day, you know, to get picked by the Oilers was something special and they're obviously in rebuild mode, so it's a great opportunity for myself and the other young guys to step in at an earlier stage than a lot of other teams."

"I talked to Billy Moores last time I was here and I'll talk to him [Wednesday].  But every two weeks we stay in touch with Mike Sillinger and Billy Moores and Mr. MacGregor there, too. Just kind of keeping in touch with them letting them know how things are going."

With 21 goals and 75 points in only 54 games, in addition to an astounding plus-44 rating in Saskatoon this season, his development has certainly been turning heads in Oil Country. At this time, it appears as though Hamilton’s potential could rise to achieve limitless possibilities en route to his NHL dream. Only time will tell, but the 6’3” Kelowna, BC native is letting his humble approach and vision to achieve greatness do the talking.

"I’m just having so much fun with everything."

Author: Ryan Dittrick | edmontonoilers.com

 
2010-11 OILERS PROSPECT STATS

Forwards
Name Age GP G A PTS +/- PIM Team
Cameron Abney   19 53 6 11 17 -6 61 Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)
mark arcobello
22 8 2 1 3 -2 0 OKLAHOMA CITY BARONS (AHL)
Alexander Bumagin   23 39 6 5 11 -9 24 Novokuznetsk (KHL)
Philippe Cornet   20 43 5 8 13 +4 4 Oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Drew Czerwonka   18 60 12 28 40 +10 76 kootenay ice (WHL)
Robby Dee   23 32 9 20 29 N/A 24 university of maine (h-east)
Jesse Gimblett   26 37 12 9 21 +2 82 stockton thunder (echl)
Alexandre Giroux   29 60 29 35 64 E 55 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Curtis Hamilton   19 54 21 54 75 +44 20 saskatoon blades (whl)
Teemu Hartikainen   20 60 16 20 36 -4 27 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Kellen Jones   20 34 7 14 21 N/A 31 quinnipiac university (ecac)
Milan Kytnar   21 58 7 10 17 E 20 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Anton Lander   19 47 9 14 23 -5 34 timra ik (sel)
Matt Marquardt   23 48 3 6 9 -7 18 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Ryan Martindale   18 58 33 46 79 +35 22 ottawa 67's (ohl)
Colin McDonald   26 60 24 13 37 +1 47 Oklahoma City Barons (AHL)
Brad Moran   31 60 17 33 50 +3 24 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Ryan O'Marra
23 45 2 19 21 +11 38 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Linus Omark  *
28 26 14 17 31 +7 32 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Ben Ondrus   28 60 5 12 17 -7 62 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Kristians Pelss   18 58 14 16 30 +13 29 edmonton oil kings (WHL)
Tyler Pitlick   19 56 27 35 62 +4 31 medicine hat tigets (whl)
Toni Rajala   19 40 9 13 22 -4 4 ilves tampere (fnl)
Liam Reddox *
24 37 18 15 33 +14 16 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Gregory Stewart   24 55 6 7 13 -5 86 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Chris Vande Velde   23 59 9 4 13 -18 34 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Defencemen
Name Age GP G A PTS +/- PIM Team
KEVIN MONTGOMERY
22 51 2 17 19 -2 34 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Jordan Bendfeld   22 21 1 1 1 -1 50 stockton thunder (echl)
Kyle Bigos   21 26 0 5 5 N/A 112 merrimack college (h-east)
Jeremie Blain   18 34 3 29 32 +12 44 acadie-bathurst titan (qmjhl)
Taylor Chorney *
23 46 3 13 16 E 22 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Brandon Davidson   19 64 8 41 49 -6 67 regina pats (whl)
Troy Hesketh   19 23 0 0 0 -12 30 sioux city musketeers (ushl)
Martin Marincin   18 59 13 39 52 -4 57 prince george cougars (whl)
Johan Motin   21 34 1 3 4 -7 30 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Richard Petiot *   28 46 0 12 12 +9 34 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Jeff Petry
23 38 7 17 24 -4 18 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Alex Plante   21 57 1 10 11 +6 112 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Goalies
Name Age GP W L T SO GAA PCT Team
Tyler Bunz   18 50 31 12 7 3 2.48 .918 medicine hat tigers (whl)
Jeff Deslauriers   26 19 9 9 2 0 2.96 .902 Oklahoma City Barons (AHL)
Martin Gerber *
36 34 19 12 3 4 2.49 .917 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Bryan Pitton  *
22 28 16 7 3 0 2.88 .898 stockton thunder (echl)
Olivier Roy   19 40 26 12 1 2 2.87 .907 acadie-bathurst titan (qmjhl)


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