On Wednesday, the Seattle Thunderbirds announced that former captain and recent WHL graduate Turner Ottenbreit had signed an amateur tryout with the American Hockey League’s San Antonio Rampage. The Rampage are the AHL affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche.
Since he was acquired from the Saskatoon Blades as a 17-year-old, Ottenbreit has gone from a third-pairing defenseman to one of the league’s best. During the 2016-17 season, his plus-45 rating was the best among all Western Conference players and not once during his WHL career did he finish with a regular season with a negative plus/minus.
As a 20-year-old, he once again led the Thunderbirds in plus/minus with a plus-15 and also set a career high in points with 47 in 64 games. As the season wore on, he showed additional offensive acumen that accompanied his well-established intimidating presence on the blue line.
Ottenbreit also demonstrated impressive durability for a player who never shied away from physical contact. He played over 60 games in each of his four full seasons and rarely missed time due to injury.
The Rampage currently sit sixth in the AHL’s Pacific Division with a 33-27-10-0 record. Their blue line currently features two former WHLers in Mason Geertsen (Edmonton and Vancouver) and Tommy Vannelli (Medicine Hat).