When Bruins prospect Matt Zultek left St. Thomas University on November 30, trade rumors involving the Philadelphia Flyers began to flare up. Zultek, a second round draft pick of the Bruins, re-entered the 1999 draft after failing to agree to terms with the Los Angeles Kings. For those who don’t remember, Zultek was unable to attend training that fall because of a severe knee injury. He spent most of 1999-00 in rehab to strengthen the knee, and was fortunate to play the last 28 games of the season with the OHL’s Ottawa 67’s.
Primed and ready for his 1st Bruins training camp last fall, Zultek had been going back and forth to Boston to do routine fitness tests. At the time Zultek was excited, he felt his knee was strong and was enthusiastic about agreeing on a contract.
Training camp came and went and Zultek was still without a contract.
“I thought I had a great camp,” said Zultek from his Ontario home. “I did all of things they asked me to. I was really upset with the way they handled things, they wanted me to play for Greenville of the ECHL. I didn’t have a problem with playing in the ECHL, I just looked at the $150,000 contract offer, which didn’t include any bonuses, and decided it would be better for me to further my education.”
“St. Thomas University is a great school, and the coach gave me a lot of ice time and an opportunity to play. But because of my contract situation, I had to leave school. If I stayed at school past November 30th, the Bruins would retain my rights for an additional 180 days.”
Waiting till December 28 to be a free agent was something he didn’t want to. No deal is imminent with the Bruins or any other NHL team at the moment. The alleged rumor of the Bruins trading Zultek’s rights to the Philadelphia Flyers is news to him.
“I haven’t heard of any deals, this is all news to me.”
Zultek more than anything wants to get an opportunity to play in the NHL. While he would love to receive that chance from the Bruins, he’s not holding his breath. Zultek is a smart individual who has his priorities straight. He understands that there is life beyond hockey and it’s better to be prepared for the long term rather than the short. In the meantime though, he’s gunning for one last kick at the can.