Weekend (non-Beach) feedback

Katie Kelleher had the following to say:

Can you address Hamill and his performance (or lack of) this year? Without a good center to feed him, he just can’t seem to make a play or score like last year. I noticed last night (haven’t been to a game for a bit) that he is no longer on the first line. What does the coach have in mind with Hamill? Seems like without Mueller there to help him get the most out of each game he can’t perform as well. Why was there not a trade featuring Hamill to go to a team that does have a center that can get him going again for some of the things that we need?

And how about the impressive performances by Mueller this season?? I think Mueller’s adjustment to NHL has been great and is a real kudos to the Tip organization.


This e-mail came Sunday, so the “yesterday” refers to Saturday’s game against Spokane.

First things first. Zach Hamill is a center. He’s always been a center during his career with Everett (with the exception of brief periods during the 03-04 and 04-05 playoffs when he played on the wing). Even when the Tips put Hamill and Peter Mueller on a line together late in games they trailed last season, Hamill would play center and Mueller would be on the wing. For the most part they centered separate lines.

Also, on Saturday Hamill was playing with the same linemates (Dan Gendur and Clayton Bauer) he’s played with since the Christmas break. With Kyle Beach out this is unquestionably Everett’s top line. Now, Saturday’s game had so many penalties that there wasn’t a whole lot of five-on-five play, so maybe it was a difficult night to recognize that.

As for my thoughts on Hamill, I’ve always seen him as a playmaker rather than a goal scorer. His strength is in the pass, not the finish. Throughout his Tips career he’s always had twice as many assists as he’s had goals.

Now, as a 19-year-old who was an eighth-overall selection in the NHL draft, one would expect Hamill to be dominating this league. He has not been a dominating player this season, so I can understand some sense of disappointment in his play. But he’s been playing more physical lately and he’s still a very valuable player, one of Everett’s best. In general I don’t consider it a winning strategy for teams to trade off their best players. And there’s no way the Tips would have gotten equal value for this season had they traded Hamill, and I don’t think Everett has given up on accomplishing something this year.

As for Mueller, I think it’s great that he’s having a solid rookie season with the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes. He’s the first Tips alumni to truly be an NHLer, and that’s historic. I expect him to have a long and productive NHL career and I wish him the best.

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