Friday, August 9, 2013

Troy Rutkowski's Winterhawk Career

This will be a re-occurring segment, where we will look back at Winterhawks who have played out their junior eligibility. First we will look at the career of the now former Winterhawk Captain: Troy Rutkowski.

Troy was picked up by the Hawks in 2007 un-drafted out of Edmonton, Alberta. This Bantam draft helped restart the franchise for the Hawks giving the players such as Brad Ross, Joe Morrow, Taylor Peters and Ryan Johansen. They also were able to pick up Rutkowski outside of the draft, furthering the restarting of a now dominant franchise.

-Rutkowski impressed at camp, making the squad and playing in 64 games. He scored 6 goals and added 9 assists, with a -22 plus/minus rating.Troy was a depth Defenseman in his first year with the Hawks, playing behind Travis Ehrhardt, Travis Bobbee, Brett Ponich and Stefan Schneider. Rutkowski also won a silver medal with the Canadian U-17 team. He would make a name for himself the next year.

-Troy became a household name among Winterhawk fans in his 17 year old season; scoring 12 goals and 31 assists for 43 points and a +13 rating. Troy went from being 5th among D-men on the team in scoring, to 1st in just one season. He really started to thrive in Coach Mike Johnston's system which is perfect for active D-men with scoring ability. Troy added 4 goals and 3 assists in 13 playoff games for Portland. Rutkowski rode his outbreak of a season and a good showing at the top prospect game to being drafted in the 5th round, 137th overall in the 2010 NHL draft by the Colorado Avalanche. Unfortunately, the one game he missed for the top prospect game kept him from accomplishing the WHL record for most consecutive games played.

-Riding high after being drafted, Troy added 10 more goals and 37 assists for 47 points and a +24 rating in his 18 year old season. Unfortunately Rutkowski was not able to make the Canadian Junior team and would never again play for his country at the Junior level. Troy added 4 goals and 9 assists in 21 playoff games, on the squad that lost to Kootenay in the WHL final. He was just one of 4 Portland D-men who scored at least 30 points on the 2011 team.

-Adding the Assistant Captain title to his accomplishments, Troy had a fantastic 19 year old season; playing all 72 regular season games for the 2nd straight season, this time adding 13 goals and 32 assists for 45 points and a +18 rating. Troy also added 1 goal and 9 assists for 10 points in 22 playoff games. Unfortunately, by this time in their career, a drafted WHL player with a future in the NHL usually has a signed NHL contract and Troy did not. This was most likely as the knock from most scouts on Rutkowski was that he was exceptional offensively, but not up to par on the defensive side, especially when it came to playing physical, shut down defense. This despite having, an NHL ready 6'2" 192 lb physique.

-Coming back to the Hawks for his 20 year old season was definitely not what Troy wanted for himself, but he took the challenge head on and shored up the perceived detriments in his game. He scored 20 goals and 46 assists for 66 points (his most since his 17 year old season) and added a +32 rating.He also added 4 goals and 10 assists for 14 points for the WHL Champion Hawks. Playing another 72 games for the Hawks meant that Rutkowski now has the career record for most games played at 351, surpassing Kevin Haupt's previous record of 328. Adding to his awards was the nominations to the all WHL Western Conference 2nd team at defense. Most impressing was Troy's leadership during the tumultuous time after Coach Johnston's suspension. When a lot of teams would have gone under, Troy's leadership as team Captain helped the Hawks overcome this and get within one win of the Memorial Cup title. This break out season awarded him an NHL contract from the Ottawa Senators, meaning that his NHL opportunities are there for the taking and Troy has shown that he is more then capable of working hard and accomplishing this goal for himself.

1 comment:

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