Question: Who will step up on blue line?

Editor’s note: With free agency starting on July 1 and the window for teams to interview free agents starting on June 25, we’re taking a look at some the questions facing the Bruins.

Which young Bruins defenseman will have the biggest impact next season?

Regardless of whether Peter Chiarelli adds a veteran defenseman this summer, the Bruins are counting on Dougie Hamilton to take his game to a new level.

This upcoming 2014-15 season will be the third in the NHL for the 21-year-old defenseman, who is on the precipice of developing into a top-four blueliner. His size, strength and ability will allow him to reach his full potential.

It was evident last season that Hamilton was gaining confidence. After Dennis Seidenberg suffered a season-ending knee injury in late December, the Bruins relied heavily on Hamilton and he delivered. He wasn’t perfect. He made his share of mistakes, but his two-way game improved. His physical game improved, too. The Bruins would like to see him assert himself a little more, especially in the defensive zone.

Hamilton played against opponents’ top players and he handled that role well. As long as he doesn’t become complacent, he should be a force in the league for a long time.