he Kelowna Rockets will have no problem finding a stall in their dressing room for Brett Bulmer should he return at any point this season.
However, the Western Hockey League club isn’t holding its breath that the 6-foot-3, 190-pound forward will ever play another game of major junior hockey.
The Wild have informed the Rockets they plan on keeping Bulmer well beyond the nine-game mark—the limit teams are allowed before the first year of a player’s entry-level contract kicks in—before deciding on whether to return him to junior or keep him.
Bulmer is slated to play in his ninth NHL game on Thursday night when the Minnesota Wild host the Anaheim Ducks, with his 10th to
In eight games to date, he has no goals and three assists, and is logging an average of more than 11 minutes of ice time per game. In his latest outing, Bulmer played nearly 17 minutes against the Canucks and was +1 with one assist.
Hamilton said the 19-year-old Bulmer is making a solid case to remain in Minnesota.
“What the Wild told us is that he’s playing real well,” Hamilton said. “I watched him in two games against Edmonton and Vancouver and he played extremely well, I felt.
“They’re not on the 10-game plan with him, they’re on the 40-game plan and whether he’s there for 40 or not, who knows,” Hamilton continued, “but as long as he’s playing well and playing a lot, they’re going to keep him. If he slows or stumbles here then they’ll consider sending him back, they have no problem doing that. But I can’t see him coming back if he keeps going the way he is.”
Either way, Hamilton expects the club will know for certain by early December whether they’ll see Bulmer again in Rocket colours.
Based on the WHL team’s past history of watching their teenaged stars catch on with NHL teams—Luke Schenn and Tyler Myers to name two—Hamilton isn’t holding out hope for Bulmer’s return.
“In our case it would be great to get him, but as I’ve learned over the years here when you start banking on that, you never get them. I think this is our fifth underage guy to go up and play, so you have to be prepared for this kind of thing to happen.”
Rocket Shots…The Rockets (5-7-0-1) will visit the B.C. Division leading Kamloops Blazers (9-3-0-0) on Friday night. The teams will meet again Saturday, 7 p.m. at Prospera Place…The Rockets are hoping to see Jessey Astles back in the lineup this weekend. The 18-year-old forward has missed the last seven games with concussion symptoms…Other Rockets sidelined with injuries are: D Kevin Smith (shoulder), D Jesse Lees (upper body), F Carter Rigby (concussion) and G Jordon Cooke (upper body).