Kyle Turris

Photo by Michael Wifall from Tucson, USA (Kyle Turris getting stick-lifted by Taylor Pyatt) [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The Senators have re-signed 23 year old center – and former 3rd Overall Draft Pick of the Phoenix Coyotes – Kyle Turris to a 5 year contract extension at $3.5m per year.  Turris was traded to Ottawa by the Coyotes in December 2011 for highly-touted defence prospect David Rundblad.  Turris had earlier that season been in a bitter contract hold-out situation with Phoenix, as he was reportedly unhappy with playing there and was apparently demanding $3-4m in salary or to be traded.  Well he eventually got both his wishes.

Turris was a famous prospect, touted as a possible 1st Overall Pick in the 2007 NHL draft, but ended up going to 3rd OV to Phoenix.  After spending one year in the NCAA, Turris turned pro and made his NHL debut at the end of the 2007-08 season.  He made the team out of camp the following season but struggled and was sent down to AHL for 8 games to regain his confidence.  He then spent the entire 09-10 season in the AHL, posting good numbers and showing that he might finally be ready for another crack at the NHL.  He mostly played the 10-11 season with Phoenix, posting slightly better numbers than previously, but still not showing why he was made the 3rd overall pick a few years before.  After eventually agreeing to a 1-year contract with Phoenix over a month into the 11-12 season, he played 6 games and went pointless, before being traded to Ottawa.

It was here that Turris began to show some of the skills that made him so highly though of in 2007.  He scored an assist in his first game with the Senators, and went on to record 12 goals and 29 points over the last 49 games of the season – a 48-point pace over a full season.  Still not fantastic, but pretty good, and a sign that he might be rescuing his career.  It could have been that Turris’ style just didn’t mesh that well with Dave Tippet’s stifling defensive system in Phoenix, but either way he seems to have found a home in Ottawa.  Now it’s up to this kid to show that the 11-12 season was no fluke.

I think, personally, that $3.5m per year for a kid that has been below average in every NHL season up to this one, and then suddenly breaks out, is a gross overpayment.  He should have been given a $2.5m deal for a year or 2 to prove that this wasn’t a once off.  The kid is still young, and may turn out as the Senator’s 2nd line center as they believe he is, but I am yet to be convinced.  Consider that Sam Gagner, who was taken 6th OV by the Oilers in the same draft class and has 220 career points to Turris’ 70, is earning $3.2m on a 1-year deal this year.  When you see that Sam has never had below 41 points in 5 NHL seasons, spends more time on ice per game, and fights occasionally, I’m not quite sure what the Sens are trying to do here.  Yes Turris is bigger, but size isn’t everything – it’s not as if either player is physical.  Neither player is on the PK.  It’s just a rather baffling contract, whereas Sam’s makes sense – he’s getting paid well, yes, but not the ~$4m you’d expect for a genuine 2nd line center.

Hopefully it works out for Ottawa, but I’m not holding my breath.


One comment

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