Hamilton, a 27-year-old native of Oshawa, Ont., is playing in his seventh AHL season and is on pace for his third 20-goal campaign in the second-tier pro circuit. He was called up to the Leafs for just a pair of games last March, during which he registered an assist in his NHL debut.
After four seasons with the Ontario Hockey League’s Barrie Colts, the Minnesota Wild signed Hamilton as a free agent back in July of 2006. The young winger was hot off a 46-goal campaign for the Colts.
But after a stint with the Wild’s Houston Aeros farm club, Hamilton was shipped to the Maple Leafs in exchange for Robbie Earl.
Since joining the Marlies, team captain Hamilton has steadily improved as he gets deeper into his 20s. He’s a big guy — 6’2″, 230 pounds — who perhaps didn’t get much of a look from the 2013 Leafs due to NHL’s shortened training camp, a result of the lockout.
“I personally believe Ryan Hamilton is right there knocking on the door,” Eakins said. “He’s right in the mix there. I think it goes to show you, sometimes we forget that players progress at different rates. I’m constantly asked about two or three players that are all very young, and for some reason everybody forgets there’s other guys there too that are still trying to make it.”
Watch: Hamilton’s All-Star Game hat trick
Does Marlies captain Ryan Hamilton deserve a call up to the Toronto Maple Leafs this season?