College Hockey Scoreboard from CHN

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Wolverines sign three more to NLI's

After signing six players to National Letters of Intent during the early signing period in November, Michigan inked three more during the spring signing period.

Forwards Brandon Naurato (Livonia), Tyler Swystun (Cochrane, Alberta) and Travis Turnbull (Chesterfield, Mo.) bring Michigan's 2005 recruiting class to a total of nine players.

Losing ten players to graduation this season, the Wolverines hope the incoming freshman can fill the voids right away.

"This is a group we are very excited about," associate head coach Mel Pearson said. "We feel that they bring us a combination of things we are looking for such as size, strength, speed, skill, some offensive creativity and good strong defensive ability on the back line. We just feel it's a very strong group that will help us maintain our stature in the CCHA."

Naurato, 20, is the fourth player from the Omaha Lancers that U-M has recruited over the last three years along with incoming recruit Tim Miller and current defensemen Tim Cook and Jason Dest. Naurato, a 6-foot, 185-pound forward, tallied 15 goals and 10 assists for 25 points and was plus-7 in 49 regular-season games.

"I think it is important that you have the right mix for your team," Pearson said. "You need the right chemistry and you need a little bit of everything in your recruiting class, and because this class is so large it was important that we have a couple experienced players. Brandon is an older player and should be more ready to contribute right away."

Swystun, 5-foot-11 and 170 pounds, will only be 17 when the season starts. He fast-tracked his schooling in Western Canada to be eligible, but even so, Pearson expects Swystun to be ready in September. His Camrose Kodiaks recently won the Alberta Junior Hockey League championship and Swystun paced the Kodiaks with 15 goals and 32 points.

"Because he's played at a high level and on such a good team this year with Camrose (Alberta), we expect with his ability to step in and contribute immediately," said Pearson. "He has the skill package and we recruited young players like T.J. Hensick, Mike Cammalleri, Aaron Ward, just to name a few, who have come in and been solid contributors right from day one. We expect Tyler, because of that experience he's getting this year playing for a very good team and very experienced team, to be able to come in and hit the ground running."

Turnbull's father, Perry, played under Michigan head coach Red Berenson while both were with the St. Louis Blues in the 1980's. Travis Turnbull, 6-feet and 184 pounds, is currently in the USHL semi-finals with the Sioux City Musketeers. During the regular season, the 18-year-old recorded 17 goals and a plus-19 rating. He turns 19 in July.

"Travis is a player that is going to bring some things that we haven't had for awhile here at Michigan," Pearson said. "He has some Jed Ortmeyer-type qualities as far as his leadership and tenacious hustle. He's a big strong center, who we feel we can play in any situation. He's good offensively and even better defensively as a forward. So we expect him to be just a good, solid all-around player, who can play against other teams' best players, but at the same time be able to score."

Committing in November were forwards Jason Bailey (Nepean, Ontario), Andrew Cogliano (Vaughn, Ontario), Zac MacVoy (Livonia) and Tim Miller (Davisburg) and defensemen Jack Johnson (Faribault, Minn.) and Mark Mitera (Livonia).

Graduating from Michigan are forward Milan Gajic, forward Charlie Henderson, defenseman Nick Martens, forward David Moss, forward Eric Nystrom, defenseman Reilly Olson, defenseman Brandon Rogers, forward Jason Ryznar, defenseman Eric Werner and forward Michael Woodford, Jr.

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