Kyle Turris Confirms What We All Thought
By Alexander Monaghan
Courtesy of Elliotte Friedman’s ’30 Thoughts’ column, we now can confirm that Kyle Turris has no interest in playing for the Phoenix Coyotesand may forgo playing this season just to not play in the desert. The New Westminster, BC native baffled the hockey world with his contract demands during the preseason, making it well known that if his organization wants him back, he wants to be paid like a first liner. Some people look for information about a list of online colleges when they want to take sports management classes.
With 19 goals and 46 points through his first 131 games, asking for in excess of $4 million is certainly outrageous. However, Friedman explains that he would sign a decent contract with another club, effectively eliminating any form of offer sheet. GM Don Maloney has a very strategic way of dealing with RFAs, which usually includes signing a reasonable two-year deal north of $2 million. in keeping the second contract low effectively keeps the third contract lower and more reasonable — a must for a cash-strapped, under-budget organization like the Coyotes.
If Turris won’t play for the Coyotes, they can call his bluff and allow him to sit out the entire season which would certainly hinder his development and his unfortunately for the ‘Yotes, his trade value. Turris, in turn, could then lend his talents to some overseas team (against team orders) or just continue to play chicken with the team in hopes of eventually playing in a more hockey-friendly market.
Perhaps he prefers a more-populated arena. Maybe he clashes with coach Dave Tippett. Quite possibly he just doesn’t like his current developmental track. At this point, we really don’t know his thoughts while the mainstream media in Arizona haven’t necessarily aided in finding out; we can only assume with his disdain for Phoenix, he isn’t local to the team or available to the team’s media.
While we remain unsure of his motives, we can take a gander at the teams who might need his services.
The Calgary Flames top the list as they could certainly use a blue-chip center like Turris, but as Friedman notes, they probably don’t have the necessary players to complete a deal. Mikael Backlund would almost certainly be required while both sides likely fail to make such a lateral move. To get a player with the potential of Turris — former 3rd overall pick, right-handed center with size — most teams will need to give up a center prospect of their own. Who has the depth to withstand such a move?
One team that jumps out is the New Jersey Devils, who are short in NHL-caliber centers but long on prospects. Adam Henrique could be a starting point in the Turris sweepstakes coupled with controversial prospect Jon Merrill or even a lesser d-man like Eric Gelinas, Matt Taormina or current-NHLer Mark Fayne. Nevertheless, the Coyotes likely turn that down — especially if they would turn down Backlund — countering with a package that probably includes current third-line center Jacob Josefson plus a first rounder. In other words, the Devils, despite their plethora of prospects, would not be a fit for Turris unless they overpay; in a rebuilding year, they probably pass.
Another option could be the Nashville Predators, who have a history of making early moves in the regular season. Considering they already roster a young core, they could have prospects to spare. Austin Watson along with Charles-Olivier Roussel, Roman Josi or Mattias Ekblom could get the job done. However, due to the uncertainty of Ryan Suter and Shea Weber, the Preds likely continue to stockpile their youngsters as a contingency plan. Similar to the Calgary proposal, we’re not sure the Yotes would accept such a deal in any event.
Although we only listed a few organizations who could have interest in Turris, the majority either don’t have enough to offer or probably would pass on trading for an enigma like Turris.
The Coyotes feature solid depth in both goalie and defense prospects, which limits them to wanting high-end forwards in the same mold as Turris. Furthermore, Tippett rarely uses blue-chip offensive prospects, letting Brett MacLean and Viktor Tikhonov go through waivers this past preseason in favor of Kyle Chipchura, Petteri Nokelainen and Patrick O’Sullivan. The team’s brightest offensive chip, Mikkel Boedker, currently centers the team’s fourth line. In other words, if you have a flaw on the defensive side of the puck, you will not play with any regularity in Phoenix.
Which comes back to Turris. Last season, he averaged a whopping 11:16 of ice time despite scoring 11 goals and 25 points over 65 games. While the team didn’t necessarily struggle to score in 2010-2011, they did hold a goal differential of only six. Playing Turris more could have helped that in a positive way provided he didn’t struggle in his own end. Nevertheless, his ice time ranked 22nd on the team with Petr Prucha even seeing more ice time than him — a less-than-ideal spot for a budding forward.
In a very quiet trade market, this pivot stands out as one of the few things to discuss. One thing is almost certain: his holdout will be infamous and may even become it’s own hockey-related verb. Ie. Hope the Leafs sign X before his Turrist his way out of the NHL. As of this writing, that very well could happen.