Stellarton native makes debut with Océanic Thursday
RIMOUSKI – A change of scenery won’t affect the continuous improvement Brent Turnbull has shown throughout his junior hockey career.
He was traded by the Quebec Remparts to the Rimouski Océanic on Sunday for a third-round pick in the 2015 draft and will make his debut with his fourth QMJHL team Thursday against Saint John.
“Nothing changes for me,” said Turnbull. “It would’ve changed if I stayed in Quebec because they want to play their young players more, but I’ll stay in a top-six role and on the power play now with Rimouski.”
With seven goals and 12 assists in 32 games with Quebec this season he said he was enjoying himself, had settled in and didn’t want to leave.
Five days before the trade became official he was approached about moving. He didn’t want to leave so he used his no trade clause.
With the Remparts and Océanic having the same owners they gave him the option to stay in Quebec and not play much or have a similar role in Rimouski to help them make a championship run.
“I was kind of shocked (that they approached about a trade),” he said. “I didn’t expect to be moved after coming to Quebec last season. After looking at the options I started to accept it as time went on and now that it’s official I’m happy to be with Rimouski.”
Having the best season of his career is due to confidence according to Turnbull. He said coaches having confidence in him to perform in pressure situations has helped him personally.
“It’s huge to be the guy relied on in pressure situations, which is when I play my best,” he said. “I’ve also been putting more time in on and off the ice and working harder. That also helps a lot.”
He hopes things transition smoothly and he adjusts quickly to his new linemates.
“For the first bit it’s going to be different playing with different players since I’ve been with the same guys most of this season, but they’re still skilled players in Rimouski, so I will just worry about my role and do the same thing,” said Turnbull. “During practice we will hopefully find some chemistry and it will translate quickly into our games.”
After making his debut Thursday he will face his former team on Friday night in Quebec. A quick return will be weird for the forward that had played with the Remparts since the 2013 trade deadline.
“It will be really weird because it’s soon after the trade and I still have a lot of good friends on the team, so it might be a little hard to throw a few bodychecks at first, but I hope I play well in my first game back there,” he said.
Currently the Quebec Remparts are ninth in the QMJHL, while Rimouski sits in second place. The Remparts hope to be named host of the 2015 Memorial Cup, one of the reasons it is expected they want to play more young players this season and build towards next year.
The Océanic hope to win the President’s Cup this season according to Turnbull, although this year there are a number of teams in contention with only nine points separating first and ninth place in the league.
“It won’t be easy, but we feel like we have a good team that has a good chance at winning the Q.”
On Twitter: @NGNewsChris