He didn't reach all of the goals he set, but Tyler Bunz did enough in the eyes of the Edmonton Oilers.
The Oilers signed the St. Albert, Alta., native and Medicine Hat Tigers goaltender to a standard three-year entry level contract Saturday, a move that was announced early Monday morning.
“It was pretty special, it kind of brought me back to the day I was actually drafted,” said Bunz, who was picked 121st overall in the fifth round of the 2010 NHL draft by his hometown club. “I was a bit star-struck.
“It's a step in the right direction, I'm hoping it's one I can make the best of.”
In four seasons with the Tigers, Bunz has certainly made the most of his major-junior career in the Western Hockey League. He became the franchise leader in wins with 115, improved his save percentage every year and is widely considered one of the league's best goaltenders.
But that's not to say this year has been a dream season. Bunz didn't make Canada's world junior team and failed to meet a couple of personal goals.
“I think I wanted my goals against to be below 2.50 like last year,” he said. “That didn't happen. It's tough when you play so many games.
“I wanted to get 40 wins, it was tough not to do that in the last three games but other than that, the win and loss record was more than what I expected this year.”
With a 2.57 goals against average and 39-17-5 record, he's still top five among WHL netminders. The biggest goal — a league championship — remains up for grabs with playoffs starting Friday.
He was glad to get the signing out of the way early this week, and the news lit up on Twitter where he's got more than 7,000 followers. At one point Bunz was a trending topic in Canada.
“I had a lot of family support, friend support, friends on Twitter and stuff, it was pretty crazy,” Bunz said. “My phone lit up all day.”