Sunday, September 23, 2007

Breaking Down the 07-08 Wolverines: Travis Turnbull

Continuing on, we come to the first upperclassman on the roster. #9--Yes, #9--Travis Turnbull.

Last Year: Travis continued to do what he does: Hit a bunch of people, be a solid checking forward, and chip in 15-20 points. Nothing special offensively (8th amongst forwards in points) but he's a guy you can play in most situations, and he'll rarely hurt you. "Dammit Turnbull" is not an expression that I uttered more than a couple of times last year. He's not a "glamor" guy, but he's the type of player that's nice to have around. He also matured, toning his penalty minutes down from 67 (third on the team) as a freshman to 52 last year (tied for 5th).

Expectations: It's pretty clear at this point. He's been here two years. His freshman year he had 9-9--18 with 74 shots on goal in 41 games. Last year he had 8-9--17 with 75 shots in 41 games. He's only had 3 PPGs in his career, and with the incoming depth at forward, I don't imagine his PP time will increase much. I'd pretty much bank on more of the same: 8-10 goals, 15-20 points, 2 shots on goal a game, a +/- slightly below average on the team, but still pretty good considering he doesn't put up a ton of points, top five in PIMs, pretty solid defense, some good hard checks.

One thing about Turnbull is that he's actually fairly streaky offensively. Despite putting up just 17 points last year, he had a pair of 5-game point streaks, accounting for 13 points. The year before, he scored almost half his goals over a four game span. He also had a knack for GWGs as a freshman, which kind of went away last year. Not that you can read a whole lot into that in any way, it's just something that I thought was interesting.

I also think that he'll fall down a little bit more, since I'm fairly sure that Milan Gajic cursed #9 in that regard.

Level of Necessity: 6.5 out of 10

Turnbull is good at what he does. He's a checker and a good one. Because I'm worried about the defense and goaltending, perhaps this ranking is a touch higher than some people would put it for a third-line player. But I think we're going to be able to put the puck in the net. I'm worried about keeping it out, and guys like Turnbull can help in that area.

I also added an extra point because he was our second-best faceoff man last year. And he's the only returning guy who wasn't a complete disaster in the dot (Turnbull was 51.5%...the other returners are Miller at 44.2%, Ciraulo at 42.8%, Kolarik at 38.9%, and Fardig at 32.9%, which is low enough that you almost have to be trying to lose draws). And you all should know by now that I'm a whore for people that can win faceoffs. Hopefully the reports are true and we're bringing in a lot of freshmen capable of winning draws, because the rest of the team? Not so much. If the freshmen struggle, Turnbull's value goes up exponentially, because he'll be the one out there in the crucial situations, just because he gives you a chance to gain possession.

Offensively, Turnbull is not going to be an overly important cog in this team. What he brings in the other areas of the game is where he'll continue to make his mark. I'm pretty sure we know what we're going to get out of him at this point. He's not going to make the highlight reels, but he's a solid player for us, and one whom I've always liked.

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