Matt Bradley was drafted by the San Jose Sharks in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft, in the fourth round, 102nd overall. Throughout his career he played for the Shark, Pens, Cap and now the Florida Panthers.
Though he is not an offensive powerhouse, Bradley has effectively carved out a niche for himself as a tough, checking line winger. In the 2007–08 season, Bradley doubled his fight total from the previous year, had a career-high 111 shots on goal, and was third among Capitals forwards in hits, even though he had the second lowest amount of ice time. Bradley improved his plus/minus rating in every season from 2003 to 2008.
I got a chance to talk to Matt last week about joining the Panthers…
Josh: What drew you to Florida? I know Mike Santos said that when people started signing here the phone line went crazy with people wanting to be Panthers, what made you come here?
Matt Bradley: Yeah, for one it’s a great opportunity for myself to offer something that they need and then also you’ve got a guy like Dale Tallon building this team and you know it’s gonna be good, then you begin to see the moves he is making and you want to be part of that. The Panthers are serious about winning and I’m happy to be a part of that a help start the winning race here in Florida.
Josh: Dale says he likes character, and when he signed you he refrenced you being a character guy. What does that mean you are going to bring to this team?
Matt Bradley: I’ve always been a team first guy who will do whatever it takes to benefit the team. It’s a compliment if a guy like Dale Tallon says I have good character. He played with great character and he leads organizations with good character. You will see that all of these guys he brought in are fun guys, they joke around a lot, they are going to make this a fun place to play.
Josh: What was it like being on NHL 24/7?
Matt Bradley: It was really neat. After a while it got a little crazy I mean when they say 24/7 they mean it and it got a little crazy they were there at the rink every day and I don’t think they missed a thing the whole time they were there, which was great for the people watching at home. There were sometimes where guys wouldn’t be happy because they were on a little bit of a skid or something and a camera in your face is not really what you want. It was great not only for us, but for hockey, I think it really opened the eyes of some people who might not watch hockey regularly to exactly what it’s like to play at this level…hopefully it helps grow the sport. Everything on the show for the most part was an accurate description of what the team is like, it was pretty real.
Josh: When you see something like the Booth hit a while back garner no response from the team does that upset you like it does fans, and what are you going to do differently?
Matt Bradley: Defiantly you’ve got to be there for your team…it doesn’t matter who you are if you’re a 50 goal scorer or not, if something like that happens to a teammate on the ice then something needs to be done about it. That’s part of being team tough and if I’m out there I would jump in there no matter who it is any guy on the team who gets hit dirty like that I’m gonna step up because that stuff shouldn’t happen.
Thanks for talking to me Matt!
…and thanks for reading!
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