SWINDON Wildcats have announced that both Toms Rutkis and Sam Zajac are set to leave the club.

Teenager Rutkis is currently out with injury after dislocating his jaw in a clash with Telford Tigers in late September, which required surgery.

Injuries have curtailed the 19-year-old’s progress during his time at the Link Centre, however, he now looks set to step up to Elite League side Cardiff Devils, but will remain at the Link Centre on a two-way deal.

Zajac, who only joined the Wildcats this summer, has been forced to leave the club after being offered a full-time job in Newcastle.

During his brief stint at the club, the 28-year-old has become a mainstay in Aaron Nell’s plans as he has appeared in all of Swindon’s fixtures so far, scoring four goals in the process.

Wildcats chief Nell says it is disappointing to lose two players at this point in the season, but adds that he could not stand in the way of either player.

“It is a big loss for two different reasons, we are disappointed that it has happened but there is nothing we could really do and we’ve got to move on,” he said.

“Obviously Toms got injured early, but it is a great opportunity for him, we could’ve made him stay for a bit longer but it wasn’t right.

“It’s great for him because he is going to one of the best clubs in the country, they have a great coach and it will really push on his career.

“As a coach, I would never get in any players way to move to the next level in the right situation.”

Zajac’s departure will not be instant as the former Telford Tiger is set to leave the club at the end of the month, meaning he is eligible to play for a further two weeks.

Following the departure of Kyle Smith just over a month ago, the duo will be the second and third players to leave the club during the season.

In the eyes of Nell, that means the club’s current crop need to up their games if they are to fill the void of Zajac and Rutkis.

“Sam has had a job opportunity and before we signed him in the summer he was looking at a lot of jobs away from hockey,” he said.

“He signed for us and it is a tough one because he has been great for us and, trust me, I tried everything to have him stay.

“There were lots of ideas bouncing around, but at the end of the day, as a sportsman, you’ve got to think about life away from hockey.

“Sammy is a big part of the team and the Wildcats but we wish him and Toms all the best.”