Brett Bulmer will continue his development with the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League. The Wild have assigned the 19-year-old to his junior team.
“We have to take into consideration his development as a player,” Head Coach Mike Yeo said. “Looking down the road, we have to be sure he is getting significant minutes and playing in key situations.”
Bulmer is assigned before playing 10 games in the NHL. A player under contract can be returned to his junior team, if he is still eligible, without his NHL service counting against his contract. Bulmer is under contract for three years, so time on the deal will not start until next year.
“Being 19, they want me to play a lot,” the Prince George, British Columbia native said. “Going back to junior will only benefit me. “It’s hard to understand right now, but it’s probably good in the long run.”
Bulmer was scratched form the lineup Saturday after skating in the first nine Wild games of the season. He registered three assists, was plus-1 and totaled six penalty minutes.
“Everything about this should be positive,” Yeo said. “I think it’s still a great story. He came into camp and completely earned his way onto this team and this opportunity.
“(Bulmer) Really showed us some things, and now he has a chance to go back to junior and take that with him and build off that. Take another step and be a dominant player.”
Despite the obvious disappointment, Bulmer is taking the decision in stride and turning the opportunity into a learning experience.
“Putting your work in everyday and being a pro is huge,” Bulmer said. “I learned how to play Yeo’s style and the structure, and, for every shift, to make it count. I’ll definitely take everything I learned here and use it.”
The Rockets are 5-9-1 this season and are in fourth place in the WHL’s B.C. Division, and Bulmer is looking forward to creating a spark with his return.
“I’m going to do everything I can to be a big lift for that team,” Bulmer said. “There are a lot of good people there that are going to help me get better.” Although he will be concentrating on making the Rockets better this year, he still has his eyes set on the Wild.
“Next year coming in I want to make this team,” Bulmer said. “I did a lot of good things this year that will help me do that.
“I’m going to use the time in Kelowna to get better as a kid, off the ice and on the ice, come in here and really want to make the team.”