Friday, March 31, 2006

Final Assessment: The Forwards

#7 T.J. Hensick: Diving right into this, by talking about the most enigmatic player on the team. Not to compare their abilities, but doesn't TJ just have that Sergei Fedorov feel about him in that he could be the best player in the country if he'd just bring it every night. All too often it seems like he's coasting out there. But when he comes to play, watch out! He still put up 50+ points and was top 10 in the nation in scoring, but after being a Hobey candidate last year, this season still has to go down as a disappointment. According to Spath (and Red), Hensick admitted to Red that he may have let the team down this year and he has already seemed to take his new leadership role to heart. Time will tell, but hopefully he's poised for a huge senior year if he comes back.

Final Grade: B...Part of me wants to go lower, but you just can't argue with top 10 in the country in scoring.

#9 Andrew Cogliano:
28 points in 39 games is not bad for a freshman at all, but I expected so much more. Take a look at his game by game stats and you see a player that was streakier than Will Ferrell in Old School. Check out his season: 3 games with no points, then points in 8 of 9 games (17 points in that span), 3 games with no points, 2 games with a point in each, no points in 5 of 6 (3 points total), then just six points in the remaining 16 games. Apart from that hot streak early on in the year, he had just 11 points in 30 games. He's waaaay too talented to only be putting up a point every three games. Also he was a -11 (2nd worst on the team), an abysmal 42% on faceoffs, and he was runner up for the Paul Kariya memorial "Fish Out of Water Award For Flopping" to Robbie Earl. In his streaks he proved to be a very dangerous player however, and one of two forwards on our team that could change the game on any shift. He has incredible vision and he definitely is capable of being a top-line player on this level. Supposedly there's at least one person in the Oilers organization that wants to sign him, but he's crazy if he goes. He hasn't come close to dominating on this level yet, he's not going to be able to when a lot of guys are as fast as he is.

Final Grade: C+ (That may be a tad harsh, but I can't put up with players that drives me nuts)

#10 Travis Turnbull:
I love Turnbull. He had a rough stretch in the 2nd third of the season, but apart from that he proved to be a very capable player for us. He was one of our best forwards out of the gate, and IMO was one of our best forwards at the end of the year. 18 points isn't a bad number for a player that does what he does. He did a nice job on the PK, and threw one of the best hits of the season during the North Dakota game. He's a four-year guy, and he's a guy that we're going to be very happy to have for that long.

Final Grade: B+

#11 Kevin Porter:
He and Kolarik were mirror images of each other. Kolarik was useless to start the season and Porter disappeared in the second half. He still put together a nice year with 38 points in 39 games, and was tied for the team lead in goals, but he could have doubled his total of 17 if he could have hit an empty net. All too often, he disappeared along with Hensick. There's no reason that line shouldn't have been more productive than they were. A full season out of him would have gone a long well to helping this team. I still like his game an awful lot, and fully expect him to bounce back in his junior year.

Final Grade: B-

#12 Zac MacVoy:
Every year there seems to be a guy that just can't get a break on this year. One year it was Nick Martens, this year it was MacVoy. He just never seemed to get on the ice, and yet Tyler Swystun was out there for all but 5 games. He did get to play 20 games, but I'd be shocked if he had more than 3 hours of total ice time. I like Zac. I think he could be a nice player for us given the chance, but sadly he may have to go elsewhere to get a shot. I think he may have just been playing at too heavy of a weight (especially for a kid that wasn't a good skater to start with). He might be smart to drop some pounds in the offseason. He didn't make the most of his limited opportunities though, and Red went with the guy with the higher ceiling I guess.

Final Grade: C

#14 Brandon Kaleniecki:
No one can say he and Ebbett didn't go out playing their best hockey. Kal made up half of the heart and soul of this team, and he deserved a lot better of a final tournament run than he got. He had points in 17 of the last 23 games, including streaks of points in 8 of 9 games and 6 of 7 games. "The Line" of him, Ebbett and Kolarik carried Michigan for the last 2 months of the season. If the rest of the team had half the heart that Kal, Ebbett and Johnson have, Michigan would have been a lot better off.

Final Grade: A

#16 David Rohlfs:
Versatility. There aren't too many guys that could move from forward back to defense back to forward and not miss a beat. He was our best defenseman in his first game as a defensman (at BGSU 2 seasons ago), and his first series back up at forward this year, he was probably our best forward. He added some much needed size up front with the injury to Bailey and the loss of Moss and Ryznar to graduation. Only 2 goals and 12 points, but he's never going to be a big offensive threat. He does a lot of the dirty work, and I like what he brings to the table.

Final Grade: B

#18 Tim Miller:
I love Timmy Miller. Once Turnbull fell off from his fast start, Miller really started to play well. Great penalty killer, responsible in his own end, he can hit, and he's not clueless offensively. Just a good all-around guy that (like Turnbull) we're going to be happy to have for four years. He's one of the unsung guys of the team because he's not going to put up the flashy numbers or be a high draft pick. But he's just solid, solid, solid and you can put him out there in any situation. I'm very happy with him.

Final Grade: B+

#19 Andrew Ebbett:
He channeled Jed Ortmeyer this year. He led this team by example the entire year, but the guys never seemed to get the message. I feel bad for the guy because I really don't know that there's anything more that he could have done as captain. Had points in an astounding 14 of our last 16 games and was our best faceoff guy. In addition, I'm not sure if there was anyone that single-handedly killed off more minute-long-stretches of penalties by himself than Ebbett did. You can't say too much more about the kid than he got it done on offense, he got it done on defense, he got it done on special teams. He's the last person you can blame for this season.

Final Grade: A

#20 Tyler Swystun:
Ok, so the book on him was that he needed another year. But usually when guys are a little young or whatever, they'll at least show flashes once in awhile. Apart from one weekend late in the season, Swystun really didn't. I think he set a record for "number of outlet passes hitting the heel of his stick and going down the ice for icings". He had the worst +/- on the team and only had 1 point more than Tim Cook. (Side note: The Wings just lost to the Blackhawks in OT, letting Osgood complete the tri-fecta of losing to Chicago, Columbus and St. Louis this year. Glad we brought him back) He may eventually be a quality player, but this year he showed next to nothing.

Final Grade: D

#21 Jason Bailey:
I really would have liked to have seen a full season out of him. Every time he hit his stride, it seemed like another annoying injury would come up for him. I love his hitting, I love his grit, and he's not a huge scorer, but he can put the puck in the net every now and then. He, Miller and Turnbull (or Fardig?) might be a nice grind line to put together. They'd be annoying to play against, that's for sure. Hopefully injuries won't be an ongoing thing for him.

Final Grade: B

#22 Brandon Naurato:
I didn't really expect all that much out of him, but he really had some nice games. He supposedly has one of the best snapshots on the team, but several of his goals were of the garbage variety, not due to that great shot. He can really fire it though. He disappeared down the stretch with no points after January and a slew of DNPs. He struck me as a little more soft than he should be. He'll be a decent guy to have around throughout his career.

Final Grade: C+

#24 Chad Kolarik:
The opposite of Porter. Put up ok numbers but wasn't worth 2 craps until the Mich Tech game (and was invisible in the month of December apart from the last game). For awhile he had me wondering if sophomore slumps were exclusive to players named Chad from Pennsylvania. Once they got him with Ebbett and Kal though, things really took off for him. He had 10 multi-point games starting with the consolation game in the GLI, and was a 1/3 of the line that carried the team. 38 points in 41 games and a decent +12. Not a huge year, but one that he should be able to build off of.

Final Grade: B+

#26 Danny Fardig:
The Digger is what he is. A guy that's going to work hard almost every shift, be annoying to play against, and provide some energy when the team is lacking it. I did not expect him to be a mainstay in the lineup, but there he was for 38 of our 41 games. He was almost as bad as Cogliano on draws (42.6%) but apart from that he's a really nice guy to have on your fourth line.

Final Grade: B

Chris Fragner and Morgan Ward get Incompletes obviously, though Fragner gets points off for an incredibly stupid penalty which started the ball rolling downhill in the CC game...

Curious to hear what people think....Agree? Disagree?

(Random Stat That Jim Gaffigan Made Me Think About: Spell Check caught 73 words in this post, 2 of them were legit corrections. HA SPELL CHECK!)


Anonymous said...

re: Bailey

"I love his injury"??

Anonymous said...

I hope Naurato and MacVoy stick around, I think both of them can be quality 4-year players if they just work hard and wait for their opportunity. MacVoy needs to work on his skating, obviously, and Naurato is the kind of player who needs to be scoring a goal every 2nd or 3rd game or so to stay in the lineup, but I think he can be capable of it.

Packer487 said...

Comment 1: I honestly have no clue what the hell I meant to type there. That's what happens when I'm typing a post while watching the Wings and Pistons at the same time. Thanks for the heads up. Edited.

Brad: I hope both of them stick around but I really wouldn't blame either one of them if they took off (though it looks like Naurato has a better shot to play than MacVoy).

Colin: Some of the reason why I like MacVoy a lot is because I saw him so much last year at USA. He didn't do a ton at Michigan, but he really didn't have much of a chance to either.

And I don't see Swystun putting up 25-30 points next year. But I'd love it if he did. He showed a little something late, but not enough to make me think he'll be a major contributor next year. Though I hope I'm wrong.

Tom said...

Jason Bailey channeling Jason Ryznar perhaps? Both big forwards with early flashes of great potential who struggled with injuries? I hope not.

Anonymous said...

The recruits coming in next season are virtual duplicates of the graduating seniors, Ebbett, Kaleniecki, Ruden, except they are all a lot bigger than the guys they replace. Trevor Lewis is a multi talented forward with a mean streak similar to Ebbett, except he has several inches and about 25 pounds on Andrew. Future captain as well. Brian Lebler is a sniper like Kaleniecki, but once again much larger. Steve Jakiel is a 6-4, 210 pound version of Noah Ruden when he came out of the USHL four years ago. The defensemen, Steve Kampfer and Chris Summers both have great raw skills, but will require some time to develop them at the NCAA level. Fortunatly it looks like they will be afforded that time with a solid defense corps returning.