Kyle Turris Fallout

In the wake of yesterday’s announcement that Kyle Turris has signed a five-year contract extension with the Ottawa Senators, it is always fun to scan the Interwebs and monitor the reactions of the greater hockey community; especially those from outside the nation’s capital.

The Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson had this take for example:

I know the Oilers and Sam Gagner were saying all the right things after they agreed on a one-year, $3.2 million deal a month or so ago. Both sides were happy to get it done and move on and think about a longer term after the 2012-2013 season, should we have one or a truncated one (70 games, 60 games, 50 games?), but Gagner signed for less money than Kyle Turris, who couldn’t carry his equipment bag judged by his NHL stats so far, just got in Ottawa.

It’s obvious the Senators see Turris as their No. 2 centre behind Jason Spezza for years to come even though he is coming off a 29-point season in 55 games. He does have the tools–he was drafted third overall to Gagner’s No. 6 rating–but he has yet to show anybody he can be a 45 to 60- point player.  Gagner has, but the Oilers aren’t showing the same faith in him.

Fortunately for Turris, he can now afford to pay someone to carry his equipment bag.

Matheson’s defence for getting Sam Gagner locked up to a long-term extension isn’t necessarily crazy, the ease and manner in which he understates Turris’ game is suspect.

In fairness to Turris, he put up 12 goals and 29 points in 49 games for the Sens. If you were to extrapolate that production over the course of a full season, that’s approximately a 20 goal and 49 point pace. Taking into account the quality of competition that the second line faced (ie. they put decent totals against good competition), his almost non-existent power play production (1 goal and 4 assists) and the fact that his 5v5 on-ice shooting percentage last season (7.43) fell well below the league average (8.94), there are a number of reasons to believe that Turris’ production rate with the Senators was real and that it will actually improve.

Of course, none of this makes mention of the fact that he missed last fall’s training camp or that he had to adjust quickly to new teammates after his trade. Coupled with the gains that he has made this offseason working out with Chris Schwarz, the majority of those who follow and cover this team believe that he can fulfill the potential that was projected of him when he was drafted third overall in 2007.

But of course, there are those who will simply look at his raw numbers and scoff at the fact that someone with 75 points in 138 career games is slated to earn $3.5 million per season.

And even some in Ottawa, weren’t exactly enamored with the deal…

Like any negotiation, there’s been some give-and-take involved. Turris sacrificed some potential earning power in exchange for some long-term security. From an organizational standpoint, investing in Turris now as opposed to in a year’s time makes sense. Should Turris’ offseason training pay dividends and his shooting percentage regress towards the mean, his next contract would have inevitably been more expensive had he played out his current contract before renegotiating. Simple cost-benefit analysis shows that if he reaches the next level in his development and production, it’s a worthwhile gamble for the Senators. At the very least, even if he maintains his current production rates, he’s making market value. (As an aside, could you imagine if a salary rollback affected Turris’ extension and he met his lofty expectations? Good god.)

Don Maloney and Dave Tippett may not be stupid, but at least Bryan Murray has salvaged another former third overall draft selection.

While everyone remembers his 2000 NHL Draft deal as the one that stole Roberto Luongo from the New York Islanders for Oleg Kvasha and Mark Parrish, Olli Jokinen’s emergence as a NHL player following the deal.

Much like Turris, Jokinen — the third overall draft selection in 1997 — did not accomplish much in the first few years of his NHL career. 

Year Team GP G A Pts +/- SOG Pct
1997-98 LA 8 0 0 0 -5 12 .000
1998-99 LA 66 9 12 21 -10 87 .103
1999-00 NYI 82 11 10 21 0 138 .080
2000-01 FLA 78 6 10 16 -22 121 .050
2001-02 FLA 80 9 20 29 -16 153 .059

Comparatively, here are Turris’ numbers to this point:

Year Team GP G A Pts +/- SOG Pct
2007-08 PHO 3 0 1 1 -5 11 .000
2008-09 PHO 63 8 12 20 -15 91 .088
2010-11 PHO 65 11 14 25 0 116 .095
2011-12 PHO 6 0 0 0 -2 9 .000
2011-12 OTT 49 12 17 29 12 133 .090

But, in the 2002/03 season, Jokinen finally exploded for 65 points as a 23 year old – the same age that Turris is now. Duh-duh-duh.

Other News of Pithy Importance

- For anyone who’s optimistic enough to believe that the NHL season will start on time, the Senators have released their 2012/13 schedule.

- Apparently Cody Ceci was absent from today’s Ottawa 67s scrimmage because he’s dealing with a strep throat issue.

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