Just a few short years ago, Kyle Turris was ranked as the top North American skater heading into the 2007 NHL draft. Taken third overall, Turris was still perceived to be a bit of a project, but one who would ultimately pay hefty dividends. Fast forward to today and it’s safe to say that Turris has had a rough start to his professional career.
So what went wrong? Well, for one thing, the Coyotes drafted him. After electing to play a year of college hockey, Turris joined the Coyotes for three games in 2007-08, scoring an assist in the process, keeping things bright. The next year was somewhat frustrating, but Turris at least spent the majority of his season in the NHL. Not so in 2009-10, where he skated every game in the AHL for the San Antonio Rampage. This was certainly not a great sign for fantasy owners, but there’s always hope for a bounce back season (see Michael Del Zotto).
The “bounce back” season turned out to be a 25 point performance in 2010-11. As the following offseason progressed, Turris made it known that fantasy owners weren’t the only ones who were frustrated. Turris wanted out. After a brief holdout to start this season, Turris finally caved and signed a two-year pact and after another week or so, dressed in a Coyotes uniform, something he hoped he would never have to do again.
Why was Phoenix so frustrating to Turris? Quite simply, he wasn’t being developed to be a star player. Over the 65 games that Turris played last season in Phoenix, he averaged a meager 11:16 per game. For a team with only three players scoring more than 50 points, this was just not acceptable, but it would all change as Turris finally got his wish and was traded to the Ottawa Senators.
In his first three games with the Sens, he managed an assist in each of them. By contrast, Turris was not able to get on the scoresheet even once in the six games he had skated with Phoenix. On top of that, Turris is averaging 17:44 per game in his new home (through last night’s win over Philadelphia) as opposed to an average of 12:44 per game in Phoenix this year and an average of only 11:16 a season ago.
So what is Turris doing with the extra ice time per game? Take a look at the stats below.
In the first two rows, you can find Turris’ actual statistics from last season in Phoenix and this season in Ottawa. Below that, you will see the prorated 82 game averages from each team. One of the first things that jumps out is that Turris’ stats are probably inflated in some areas, due to the small sample size from his stint in Ottawa. There are a few positives to take from it though. One is that Turris’ point production is much closer to a level we all had hoped. While it’s unlikely he’ll be able to maintain a plus-49 average, the closest Turris has ever been to a positive over the course of a season was last year’s even rating. Simply moving to the plus side of the equation is a great sign.
While Turris certainly appears to be adjusting well, his shots per game are only up slightly from last year. This makes sense, considering Turris has scored only one goal in Ottawa and it came off a deflection, rather than a shot. As he finds his comfort zone, he’ll not only shoot the puck more, but he’ll also find the back of the net as well.
Another stat that is slightly inflated due to the small sample in Ottawa, is Turris’ penalty contributions. After some words with Daniel Briere, Turris dropped the gloves on Saturday, something quite uncharacteristic of him. As he continues to play more games, the PIM average will lower.
Watching Turris skate in Ottawa has been rather impressive. He is playing with so much more confidence than he had in Phoenix and the stats will continue to reflect that. While there are times where Turris looks to be one of the best players on the ice, he still has some development before he is a consistently dominating player. It won’t take much time before people begin to reinvest in the 22 year old (owned in only 6% of Yahoo fantasy leagues). He is still a heck of a hockey player, but now he finally has opportunity on his side and the confidence is growing with each passing game.