What does it really take to make it in the NHL? Heart? Determination? Skill? Patience?
Examining the Bruins young core of top prospects at the annual rookie tournament in Kitchener, Ontario last weekend, one gets an early impression of just how
hard these young guns are willing to work to fulfill their dreams of playing in the NHL.
The problem however, is that most of the Bruins young guns are shooting blanks!
“Nobody is really impressing me,” said Brad Davis a scout for the Edmonton Oilers. “Zdenek Kutlak is by far the best player on the ice for Boston, and he played a handful of games with the big club last year. That has to tell you of the caliber of players that are on the ice.”
Not all of Boston’s top prospects and invites were disappointing to watch all weekend. Carl Corazzini, a recent signing out of Boston University, impressed with his intense level of play.
a guy who plays with heart,” said a Bruins scout who wished to remain anonymous.
“He shows up to play every night, and doesn’t take any shifts off. He’s a
great two-way forward who could be a big surprise at our main camp this fall.”
Ed Hill and Colton Orr both impressed with their high energy level of play.
come any more physical than Colton Orr,” said Davis. “Here’s a guy that transitioned
his game from defense to forward and did it successfully. Orr is the kind
of player that every team would love to have, but unfortunately because of
his skating, he may not get an opportunity to display what he Read more»
For Seamus Kotyk, who backstopped the Ottawa 67′s to the Memorial Cup Championship in 1999, working hard may not always payoff. The Wayne Gretzky award winner as the most valuable player of the 2001 OHL Playoffs has yet to agree to terms with the Boston Bruins on a contract for next season. The 5th choice, 147th overall by the Boston Bruins in 1999 has 24 hours left to agree on a contract, or be fed to the Wolves on the free agent market. Because of his 1980 birth year, Kotyk does not qualify to re-enter the NHL draft this June.
“I would love to pull the Black & Gold jersey over my head,” said Kotyk in an exclusive interview with hockeysfuture.com. “If things work out for me, I’ll be the 4th goalie on the depth chart. That’s where I’d like to be right now. It would be great to get some experience in the AHL next year and perhaps get an opportunity to play a few games with the big club. The goalies in Providence were all given a chance to play last year and that’s something that I’m still thinking about. Andrew Raycroft stepped right into the NHL from Kingston of the OHL and I thought he did a great job. It’s really good to know that the opportunities are there.”
For those who remember, it was just over a year ago that Kotyk was facing the possibility of never playing hockey again. After struggling with mysterious respiratory problems during training camp, Kotyk was eventually diagnosed with cardiac arrhythmia and had surgery to correct the problem.
That first surgery was just the start of the merry go round year he had.
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.”