Matt Ustaski’s decision to attend the NHL draft in Philadelphia paid off.
“It turned out to be a pretty good idea,” he said on Monday morning, two days after the Winnipeg Jets selected the hulking forward in the seventh round (192nd overall) at the NHL Draft.
“It is a great feeling; this has been a dream since I was a little kid and this is the first step.”
Ustaski is a six-foot-six 225-pound winger who played the past two seasons with the Langley Rivermen.
The Illinois native is off to the University of Wisconsin in the fall.
After talking to his adviser, Ustaski made the decision to attend the draft along with his parents and older brother.
“I had a feeling I was going to get picked, I just didn’t know when,” he said.
Ustaski did some radio interviews and then met some of the Jets management, as well as the team’s owner and head coach.
“It was just a great experience,” he said.
The 21-year-old will attend Winnipeg’s prospects camp this month. He had originally been slated to attend the Washington Capitals’ camp.
This past season, Ustaski finished with 29 goals and 49 points in 54 games.
“I really wanted to come and dominate and I think I did that,” he said, adding that his first season in the BCHL was an adjustment period. He scored 11 goals and 27 points in 55 games that season.
This is the second straight season the Rivermen have had a player drafted into the NHL, as Evan Campbell was taken in the fifth round by the Edmonton Oilers in 2013.