Ottawa Senators: Kyle Turris Needs to Step Up for the Team This Season
When the Phoenix Coyotes drafted Kyle Turris number three overall in 2007, the team had high hopes that by 2012 he'd be a point-per-game player centering the team's top line.
Alas, that isn't the case.
Despite boasting a wicked snap shot and fantastic hockey awareness along with good two-way prowess, Turris never clicked in Arizona, only scoring 46 points in 134 games with the Coyotes.
A dispute over a new contract proved to be the last straw for Phoenix, and on the 17th December, 2011, he was sent to Ottawa in exchange for prospect David Rundblad and a second round pick.
However, ever since arriving in the Canadian capital, Turris' fortunes have taken a turn for the better.
Finding his niche as Ottawa's second line centre, Turris played 49 games for the Senators last season, putting up 29 points in 49 games whilst having a plus-12 plus/minus rating.
He also contributed three points during Ottawa's seven game play-off run.
Year one in Ontario was a good start for the 22-year-old, but next year Turris has to step up his game even more.
Despite being seen as being in the midst of a rebuild, the Senators surprised many last year by finishing the season eighth in the Eastern conference and taking the number one seeded New York Rangers to seven games in late April.
Behind resurgent years from Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek and a breakout one from Erik Karlsson, the Senators showed they're back to being a tough team to play against.
But the team's growth is nowhere near complete as the team is still only a young team hanging around as a low play-off seed. Next season, Kyle Turris needs to make an even bigger contribution to his team.
With the talents that made him be picked number three overall five years ago, Turris needs to turn into a big complimentary piece to Spezza, Karlsson and the Sens' other stars.
From the second line center position, Turris will look to progress upon the year he had in '11-'12 by adding to his goal scoring tallies as well as helping his teammates out both on offence and defence with his exceptional two-way play potential.
With the depth around him in Ottawa, Turris can really start to use his potential and look to put up at least a 20-goal, 50-point season.
Had he kept up his scoring pace from last year and played a full year with Ottawa, Turris would have put up 48 points in 82 games, so we know he has the ability to produce.
With another year in the system along with his continued growth as a player, Turris is capable of putting those numbers up and providing a good amount of secondary scoring to stop teams keying in on Spezza and Michalek on the top line.
However, Turris doesn't need to step up only to help the Senators score more goals.
Heading into next season, Ottawa has some questions regarding it's top six forwards.
With Nick Foligno shipped out to Columbus this offseason, the Senators, with no decision yet from Daniel Alfredsson on his retirement, only have three legitimate top-six forwards (Spezza, Michalek and Turris).
Prospects Jakob Silfverberg and Mika Zibanejad are expected to compete for the vacant positions in Ottawa's top-six, and with deals for other top-six forwards like Rick Nash or Bobby Ryan looking unlikely, the Senators are in somewhat of a difficult situation.
What this team needs is for Turris to step up, mature and not only become a key player on the ice, considering the team will need to replace Foligno's 47-point production as a secondary scorer from somewhere, but also keep his head down and not become a distraction like he did in Glendale.
Turris is extremely talented and showed a good amount of promise in Ottawa last year, but this year is the year where he needs to take the next step as a player; he needs to continue to develop his game, live up to his potential as a scorer and two-way center and cement himself as a key part of Ottawa's progress as a team.
Lewis Hughes should have been born in Canada. Still, he tweets from his home in the UK usually about hockey. Follow him at https://twitter.com/lah_8
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