Editor's note: This article is part of an ongoing series in which Insider Kevin Kurz will highlight a different Sharks player every day leading up to the start of NHL training camp.
Name/Position: Freddie Hamilton, center/wing
Contract status: Pending restricted free agent
2013-14 year in review: After he just missed final roster cuts a year ago, Freddie Hamilton made his NHL debut in Detroit on Oct. 21 and ended up playing 11 scoreless games with the Sharks with two penalty minutes and a -5 rating.
In AHL Worcester, Hamilton was the offensively-impaired club's leading scorer with 22 goals and 42 points in 62 games. He’s still no sure thing to become an NHL regular, after showing last season that he wasn’t quite ready for the best league in the world.
2014-15 outlook: Hamilton is certainly still young enough that he can develop into a solid NHL player, and he’ll get another long look in training camp. He could even be in line to eventually supplant Andrew Desjardins as the fourth line center in a couple years, as Desjardins is a pending unrestricted free agent, but he has lots of work to do if that’s ever going to become a reality.
For now, the six-foot-one, 195-pound Hamilton will compete with players like Eriah Hayes, Adam Burish, John Scott, Tye McGinn and Mike Brown for playing time. There’s a strong possibility he’ll once again be bounced to and from the Sharks’ AHL affiliate, but Hamilton’s aim should be to spend more time with the big club this season than last, and have a greater impact on games than he’s shown so far.
It’s an important year for the 22-year-old former fifth round pick, who could claim his spot on the NHL roster or end up being passed over by other young players in the system. He better come to camp in great shape and ready to work.