We continue our season ending grading of the players with a second line centre who was thrust into the first line role.
Season Review – Kyle Turris didn’t stay in his expected second line centre role for long this season. By necessity he became the teams top line centre after just 5 games, taking over for the injured Jason Spezza. His production didn’t really fit the first line role, and he struggled against the opposition’s top line and defense pairs on many nights. Ironically enough, after coming over from Phoenix last season Turris played 49 games, scoring 12 goals and 17 assists. This season he played 48 games, recording 12 goals and 17 assists. He struggled in adapting to the role that was required of him, but he made some strides in his game that gives confidence that he will be a very good second line centre for some time.
Playoffs – In the first round, Turris averaged a point per game and scored the game winner in overtime in game 3. Against the Penguins, he went head to head with Sidney Crosby for 5 games and ended up with a pretty decent showing at even strength. He played a solid defensive game even though the Senators ended up holding the short end of the stick.
Contract Status – Turris will be entering the first year of a 5-year, $17.5M contract extension signed last summer prior to the lockout. He will carry a cap hit of $3.5M.
Importance To Franchise – Turris has demonstrated the growth and ability to be a significant contributor, and he is still learning. At just 23, he will be around for a long time, but will get pressure from the younger prospects to perform or risk losing his job. Could be the push he needs.
Needs to Improve – Turris needs to get physically stronger. He is pushed off the puck too easily and has difficulty moving other, even smaller, players off the puck. His passing also needs to get better, and his point totals will improve even in a second line role.
Grade – B+. Turris was put in the unenviable situation this year, and although he didn’t exactly excel, he grew as a player and will be better off for the experience.