Several Boston Bruins prospects had very strong 2012-13 seasons, particularly defenseman Dougie Hamilton, who spent the entire truncated NHL season with the big club. The towering blueliner showed a lot of positive signs in his development this year, but he still has a long way to go to become the player many think he can be. His work and talents have landed him and others on this seasons award winners.
In his first full season at the professional level, Spooner did not miss a beat as he settled onto the Providence Bruins top line. Spooner has a very unique skill set and has a ton of offensive upside, which could help the big clubs power play woes when he is ready to be full time at the NHL level. Spooner was just off a point-per-game pace with Providence, scoring 17 goals and 40 assists in 59 contests. He played four games with the big club, and he even centered Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton on the Bruins top line at times. The 21-year-old forward could make a push for the Boston roster next season in training camp as he continues to improve in all facets of the game.
Since day one as a Bruins prospect, rugged forward Anthony Camara has drawn comparisons to Bruins forward Milan Lucic. Camara is not afraid to mix it up and drop the gloves as he finished his OHL career with 454 penalty minutes. This season he started to show off his offensive abilities netting 36 goals and 60 points. His offensive jump and rugged play helped the Toronto, Ontario native lock down a spot on Canada's World Junior Championship team, where he had two points in six games.
Best Defensive Prospect: Dougie Hamilton, D, Boston Bruins (NHL)
Hamilton won himself a free car this season as a recipient for the Bruins Seventh Player Award. Hamilton showed signs of brilliance this season especially in the offensive zone, and the Bruins hope he can help solve their power play woes in the upcoming seasons. With that being said, he is not close to reaching his full potential. Hamilton needs to work on his position skills especially in the defensive zone, but he has all the tools to be All-Star caliber player at the NHL level over the coming years.
Hardest Shot: Dougie Hamilton, D, Boston Bruins (NHL)
The Bruins do not really have another Zdeno Chara or even Johnny Boychuk's "Johnny Rocket" in the system, but Hamilton has a heavy accurate shot that can be useful on the man-advantage. Hamilton blasted home 40 goals during his OHL career, and he has scored five so far at the NHL level.
Underachiever: Jared Knight, RW, Providence Bruins (AHL)
Knight had big expectations coming into this season, and many speculated he would compete for a spot with the big club. Unfortunately, he was severely hampered by injuries all year, which resulted in him only suiting up for 12 regular season games (10 AHL, two ECHL). He only tallied three points in his 12 games this season as well. Taken at 32nd overall in 2010, Knight has the skill set to become a NHL regular sooner rather than later, but he needs to stay on the ice to do so. With a strong showing at training camp, Knight could battle his way into a spot with the big club. Either way, he would be a first selection to be called up when the big club has the injury bug.
Highest Risk/Reward Player: Maxim Chudinov, D, St. Petersburg SKA (KHL)
This was a hard player to choose because the Bruins do not really have a high-risk player, but Maxim Chudinov fits the bill in the reward department. The Bruins took Chudinov during the seventh round in 2010 despite the fact he had the talent to be a second round player. He dropped so far in the draft because he is Russian and there was, and continues to be, uncertainty over whether or not he will ever leave KHL. Chudinov has the ability to become a top-four or even top pairing defenseman, but until he comes over his potential will never be known. He struggled this season only scoring 10 points after a breakout season in 2011-12 with 35 points. He will look to rebound next season, and although he is unlikely to ever come over, the same thing was thought with Carl Soderberg not too long ago.
Breakout Player for 2013-14, Brian Ferlin, RW, Cornell Big Red (ECAC)
The Big Red struggled this season, and Ferlin was no different after having a very successful freshman season the year before. Cornell was at the bottom of the standings for much of the year, tying Clarkson for the ninth spot in the ECAC. Ferlin set career highs in goals and assists (10 goals, 14 assists), but he was expected to breakout in a much bigger way this season after injuries kept him out for part of his freshman season. Ferlin is extremely strong on the puck and has all the tools to become a successful player, so it is only a matter of time until he breaks out.
Fastest Skater: Alexander Khokhlachev, C, Windsor Spitfire/Providence Bruins (OHL/AHL)
Khokhlachev has joined the Providence Bruins ranks for the AHL playoffs, but he has found himself out of the line up for most of it. The Russian native is a very dynamic player and has the speed to prove it. Khokhlachev did start this season in the KHL, but struggled to produce, scoring only seven points in 26 games. He came back to the OHL and lit the lamp with 48 points in 29 games. Khokhlachev appears to not quite be ready for the NHL level, but could be after a year of development with the Providence Bruins next season.
Overachiever: Seth Griffith, C/W, London Knights (OHL)
It is difficult to tell if Seth Griffith is a late-bloomer or an overachiever, as he has shown a knack for putting up points in the OHL the past two seasons, but he struggled offensively during his first year of draft eligibility. A fifth round pick in 2012, Griffith has put together back-to-back 80-plus point seasons in the OHL. He had enough talent to make the U18 WJC in 2010-11, but he was held pointless. This season he was in the running to make the U20 WJC team, but he did not make the final cut.
Griffith possesses the work ethic to be an NHL player, though he will likely have difficulty replicating the type of offensive success he has experienced at the junior level. Either way, he will require a bit of seasoning at the minor league level.
Follow Richard Murray on Twitter: @Richie_Murray