This isn't a pump the Turris tires thing, just a general observation of the state of the Senators in the wake of what is now a full season of Kyle Turris with Ottawa.*
To me, his acquisition was a watershed moment solidifying the identity of the team. Shortly before Turris' arrival, MacLean was slowly figuring out what would work and the team was probably trying to figure him out too. Da Costa was experimented with as a #2C, but that didn't go as planned and he was sent down. Zibanejad was too young and burning a year of his ELC wasn't the way to go either. There was a real need for someone to fill this hole and no one in the org that could immediately fill it.
The catalyst of the trade was the game directly preceding it, when Ottawa beat Pittsburgh 6-4. Jared Cowen put up 4 points logging over 28 minutes, while potential offensive dynamo David Rundblad was glued to the bench for the better part of the game unless Ottawa was up by 3 goals and/or on the power play. Rundblad couldn't be trusted in his own zone and it was becoming apparent that he needed a lot of time and work on that part of the game. On the other hand, Cowen was proving that he was going to be a force in the NHL sooner than later.
With Turris being available and Murray liking him as a player and a good fit for the #2C position in Ottawa, he pulled the trigger on the deal with Phoenix. Rundblad had some value, but could now be viewed as an expendable project with Cowen coming along nicely and Karlsson as...well Karlsson.
Here are the numbers since then:
Ottawa's record: 82GP 44-26-12 for 100pts. This is 10th in the league and their record during this time is equal to both last year's SC finalists (LA and NJ), the Rangers, and the Red Wings. The only teams clearly ahead are Pittsburgh, Vancouver, Chicago, Anaheim, St. Louis and Boston.
Defensively, Ottawa only ranks behind LA, STL and NYR. Offensively they are 7th.
Kyle Turris' career numbers in Phoenix:
137GP *19-27-46 *-22
82GP *20-31-51 *+16
Now there's been a lot of other factors contributing to the success of the Senators, and many that are far more important than Kyle Turris. But I think that the moment this team stopped 'rebuilding' and became more focused on winning was the Turris trade. There will still be continual retooling over time, but right now they have all the pieces in place to be a contender. Injuries notwithstanding.
As far as Turris goes specifically, I think he has been really good and still coming into his own. His defensive play has been a complete surprise to me and is outstanding, and that appears to be improving as well as he gets better in the faceoff dot. Solid, solid player, very reliable, and makes a big difference for the team.
I've seen most of Turris' games since coming here and it's safe to say he's improved every aspect of his game and is an important part of this team.
Even during his drought, he was making things happen. He's using his creativity more and more and seems very comfortable. He's certainly stronger than he was and will probably improve on that front next summer as well.
Usually not a fan of patching parts of different seasons together, but I can get behind all that. Offense wise i think he's done the job as our 2nd line center considering he's still a young player. Just needs to improve his balance and to stop going to war with refs at the face-off dot.
I'd also like to add, that I think he's a core player to this team.
He's not a Spezza, Karlsson or Alfredsson but he's right there with our group of young guys who are going to carry us into the post Alfie era in Silf, Zibanejad, Cowen, Wiercioch and of course Karlsson.
In a vacuum, I'd probably pick Fisher over Turris right now (although not over the longer term, given their ages), but I always felt that the problem with having Spezza as #1 and Fisher as #2 was that they play very different games. Given all that happens in a season, you know that your 1 and 2 centres will be playing with all of your top wingers, but the game style and the players that would best compliment Spezza and Fisher were different (well, except Alfie, he seems to make anyone look good!)
Turris and Spezza are far, far, from clones, but it feels to me like Turris is a lot closer to Spezza's style than Fisher was, so it makes it easier for the coaching staff and the other players..
I'm certain he's just going to get bigger and stronger and he will be a legit #1C in a couple of years.
He has definitely shown flashes this year of having that kind of talent. People have to understand that not all players develop linearly and with the way Turris and Phoenix butted heads it's not surprising that he may not have developed properly there (not saying it's the fault of Phoenix solely).
He's gone on streaks this year that suggest as he gets stronger, older and plays more he could possibly slot in as a serviceable to good #1 C when Spezza loses a step.
Excellent post. I was also surprised by his defensive play. I was a fan of the guy as a junior in my occasional viewings of him, but I never expected to see him be so responsible in his own end. It's great to have him as our legitimate 2C for the future.
Turris has been an excellent acquisition as a 2nd line centre with 1st line centre potential as he matures & fills out. He reminds me of a Joe Sakic lite player good at both ends of the ice, very creative offensively & good vision. He's very young & will only get better, fits in well with all the other very good young players in the organization. Maybe Murray's best trade since he could be a Sen for the next decade.
Given the emergence of OEL and how weak their production is at forward I doubt Phoenix would still make this trade with the benefit of hindsight. Turris has 3 points on their leading scorer right now, and he's been playing with 40 year old Alfie on his right and a parade of callups or Latendresse on his left. He'd slot right in at 1C on the Coyotes.
Turris is only scratching the surface of what he can accomplish as a player. Not only is he young and talented, but he is still adjusting to his role in the NHL as he was mishandled in Phoenix. I don't think he will put up massive numbers in Ottawa since he will be behind Spezza on the depth chart, but I do believe he could be servicable 1C in the future.
Give this guy 2 more years of offseason workouts and he will be a beast out there. If only Turris had the strength of Greening... I see that guy knocking people down half a dozen times a night.
I like his development. I don't think he'll put on too much more weight though...probably not enough to be a full time 1C. But, he should be able to fill in as a top center for stretches. With the changing salary cap landscape, I am slightly worried about the contract, but at the time it had to be made.
I'm hoping for a solid 60+ point guy in a full season. In the 'new' NHL, the average player tends to plateau around age 24-25, so I'm not expecting much more improvement....although there is still some potential there because of the wasted time in Phoenix and his late physical development.
Excellent post. It's really interesting to see how well he's done since coming here. Could you imagine if we had him from the start?
I've mentioned it on here before that I have mutual friends with Turris and they told me that he was never treated like a top prospect. Gretzky was a horrible coach, scratched him in Vancouver when he had family and friends in the audience for his first game home. First NHL game in your hometown and you get scratched? It was a dick move. Relations between Turris and Phoenix were strained from that moment forward. I doubt we would do that to any of our prospects under the current regime.