By Patrick Hoffman
For whatever reason, things sometimes just do not work out with a particular team for certain NHLers.
This was the case for Kyle Turris and the Phoenix Coyotes. Turris, taken third overall by the Coyotes in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, spent three and one-fourth up and down years between the Coyotes and their AHL farm team, the San Antonio Rampage, and in those three seasons, rarely played to his potential.
In total, Turris played in 137 games with the Coyotes and recorded just 46 points (19 goals and 27 assists). He also got into a contract squabble prior to the 2010-11 season and ended up holding out for the start of 2011-12 season.
It clearly was not working in Phoenix for either the Coyotes or Turris. In fact, Turris’ agent, Kurt Overhardt, confirmed that his client was looking to be traded and that the contract negotiations were never about the money.
On December 11, 2011, Turris got his wish and was traded to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for David Runblad. Since that time, Turris has shown the Senators and the rest of the NHL that he can be an extremely talented player and that he can live up to his draft billing.
In 49 games with the Senators last season, Turris had 29 points (12 goals and 17 assists) and displayed the talent that helped get him drafted so high in 2007. He then followed it up with a strong postseason as he picked-up three points (1 g, 2a) in seven games.
Going into this shortened season, Senators’ head coach Paul MacLean told Senators’ media that he expected a lot from the 23-year-old.
“His confidence is better than it was,” says Senators coach Paul MacLean. “His ability to skate — he’s a year older and the work he’s done fitness-wise, that gives you an awful lot of confidence. He’s a much more confident player today.
“Our expectation is that he is going to improve on what he’s done,” said MacLean, in response to the breakout question.”
Through his team’s first two games of the season, it is easy to see that Turris has found a comfortable level with the Senators and is doing everything he can to exceed MacLean’s expectations. As of this writing, Turris leads the team with three goals and three points and looks a lot more confident offensively than he ever has.
“I feel pretty good,” said Turris, who stayed in Ottawa to train this past summer before playing some games in Europe during the lockout. “I feel like I have a lot of energy and good jump and just want to keep it going.”
If Turris can keep up his strong play, he and the Senators could be a tough team to beat come playoff time.
On top of his work for Kukla’s Korner, Patrick covers the NHL for Sportsnet.ca.
Prior to writing for the above-mentioned outlets, Hoffman’s musings have been published on the Red Light District Hockey Blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Spector’s Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com, as well as a slew of others.