We begin our appraisal of the Hawks' individual performances for the past year by starting in net with someone we've seen very little of since probably about December, the erstwhile Marty Turco. Turco was brought into the fold over the summer at a value price after the Hawks would not match the arbitration award to Antti Niemi. The quickness with which the deal was signed in the aftermath of the arbitration decision would have easily led one to believe that there was a gentleman's agreement from the start of free agency between Turco and the Hawks. Turco was looking for his last shot to backstop a contender, and possibly earn one more decent sized contract before hanging them up. But things didn't exactly work out that way, did they?
|2010 - Marty Turco||29||1631||11||11||82||3.02||799||717||.897||1|
Contract Status: Unrestricted Free Agent (2010-2011 Cap Hit: $1.3 million)
Positives: Huh. Well. About the best thing we can say regarding Turco is that he acted incredibly professionally in light of Corey Crawford taking his job. Turco deserved far better than what he got out of the skaters in front of him, too. Early in the season, the Hawks defensive corps was a patchwork of suck, and Turco's roaming tendencies certainly didn't help things. Even though his numbers are bad even by backup standards, there were many nights where Turco kept the Hawks in the game.
Negatives: As I stated above, despite all of the elaborate fantasies we had last summer about Turco firing pucks up ice in the Hawks' transition game, it simply never translated to the on-ice product. The Hawks most mobile defensemen never figured out that they didn't need to come all the way back to retrieve the puck with Turco back there, so at the very least it would end up causing a slight hesitation between either Turco or a D-man, giving a forechecker that split second longer to close on the puck, if not an out-and-out turnover. Additionally, Turco never seemed to be comfortable positionally this year, and found himself making saves with his ass turned toward the play more often than one would think humanly possible.
Defining Moment: Sad as it is, there's not much on-ice to choose from. The early season shootout win against Vancouver was nice, and his lone shutout came against the Oil, so it doesn't really count. So, with all of his new found free time on the bench, Turco being the class clown he's always been had to find new and inventive ways of entertaining himself, the most publicized of which came in Montreal, where he was making bets with a fan.
Final Grade: D+. Sorry Marty, as likeable a guy as you are, and as much as we all wanted you to succeed here, there was a reason you couldn't be trusted to give a clearly overworked Corey Crawford even the slightest break down the stretch when the Hawks were chasing points, even against Eastern Conference opponents. There's a bit of leeway for the circumstances faced and the effort given, but it wasn't enough.
Outlook: Turco will be turning 36 in August, and can be signed to an incentive-laden contract if the Hawks so choose. Getting him back at $1.0 million or less as the defined backup coming into the season might not be the worst idea, as he'll be able to give a breather to Crawford when the Hawks (hopefully) aren't chasing so early in the season. But, with the acquisition of Alexander Salak in the Jack Skille/Michael Frolik trade, the Hawks may think he's ready for North America. If nothing else, we can be assured that Marty will undoubtedly land on his feet with a color commentating gig somewhere.