Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Ryan Hamilton Autograph Card

There's a story involving the Edmonton Oilers and the city that shares Ryan Hamilton's last name making the rounds these days, as it's rumoured the team's owner, Darryl Katz, tried to purchase an OHL team to relocate it to the city of Hamilton and take over that arena's lease... as a threat to the city of Edmonton should they not build the Oilers a new arena. It's a fine, in-depth piece of ''actual'' journalism, I suggest you read it.

But back to the original intent of the post: Ryan Hamilton, the hockey player. I won't pretend I knew who he was before I got this card last year, but when I did, I was intrigued and did a bit of research. He went undrafted and was signed by the Minnesota Wild, although he never played a game with them, instead getting traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs organization, where he was one of Dallas Eakins' favourite players on their AHL affiliate Toronto Marlies, which meant he got frequent call-ups (2 games in 2011-12 and 10 in 2012-13) and served as their captain, playing with the Marlies for parts of 5 seasons.

When he became a free agent, Eakins convinced the Oilers to sign him, and he played two games with them last season, spending most of his time with the AHL's Oklahoma City Barons. His 16 points in 30 games with the Barons last year weren't much to write home about, but he has emerged a consistent producer this year, with 14 goals and 25 points in 30 games so far this year under Todd Nelson... who now coaches the main club, so there is a chance that Hamilton might join him there before the end of the season.

At age 29, the 6'2'', 220-pound left winger may not have a ton of chances left to impress the head honchos around the league, but if he can show he's an affordable third-liner who can finish once in a while, he might get a shot at being there for the actual ''building'' part of the Oilers' 8-year ''rebuilding process''. All teams need grinders, leaders and undrafted guys who've had it hard; he has a chance at being all three.

In the meantime, he takes #48 off my Oilers Numbers Project list with this card from Panini's 2013-14 Titanium set(#TR-RH of the Titanium Reserve autographed insert sub-set, signed on-sticker in thin blue sharpie):

It shows him wearing the Oilers' classic blue (now-home) uniform.

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