Although the Pittsburgh Penguins made Jim Hamilton their first choice in the 1977 Entry Draft, the team never made him a consistent part of their line-up. Hamilton spent most of his career commuting between the NHL and the Pens' minor league affiliate.
Between 1977-78 and '84-'85, Hamilton played a total of 95 games in a Pittsburgh uniform. As a rookie he signed with the team because he felt that the coaching staff would provide a good learning environment. Unfortunately, he never spent a long enough stretch with the Pens to find his groove, although he turned in some good performances.
During the 1978-79 playoff series against Buffalo, Hamilton had three goals in four games. He even tied an NHL record by scoring a goal five seconds after a Buffalo goal. In spite of his hard work, Hamilton continued his roller coaster ride back and forth to the minors. After playing with four different teams in the 1984-85 season, he retired from playing.