In an article in today's Toronto Star, Damien Cox suggested that Tyler Bozak would be an appropriate price to pay for the services of Kyle Turris.
Turris has been linked to the Toronto Maple Leafs in trade rumors for a while now, due in no small part to the stalemate between his camp and the Coyotes management team with regard to his contract negotiation.
According to ESPN.com, Turris is seeking a three-year deal worth slightly over $4 million annually, or a two-year deal worth slightly over $3 million annually.
The former would bring him to age 25, at which point he will undoubtedly be seeking an even bigger contract to last him well into, or even past, his prime years.
In this article, I will explain why I hope any trade speculation linking Kyle Turris to the Toronto Maple Leafs will remain mere speculation.
Let me begin by talking a bit about Tyler Bozak.
Bozak has been with the Leafs for roughly a season-and-a-half now. In his first 37 games with the Leafs, he posted 27 points (eight of them goals) to go along with a minus-five rating.
That is approximately 0.73 points per game. Leaf fans had high hopes for him because if you extrapolated that statistic onto a full 82-game season, you would get about 60 points out of him.
Not bad for a guy who went undrafted.
In his next 82 games (the 2010-11 season), he posted 32 points (15 of them goals) to go along with a minus-29 rating.
Leaf fans are still torn on Bozak. Is he a skilled role player who was unfairly placed in a top-six role, or is he a defensive liability who should be traded while he still has any value?
I suppose that's a debate for another time, but I will touch on a few relevant points while I make my argument that Bozak should not be traded for Turris.
Bozak has become good friends with Phil Kessel. I would assume he gets along pretty well with the rest of his teammates as well. Chemistry is not always easy to find and is sometimes underrated.
Bozak is a good face-off guy as well as a decent penalty killer. Some of his goals are of the highlight reel variety.
His cap hit is a very reasonable $1.5M for the next two seasons.
Now let's look at Kyle Turris.
An article in The Globe and Mail suggested that Turris' salary demands are a trade request in disguise.
I don't know about that, but in any case, Turris is not looking good right now.
In his rookie season, he scored 20 points (eight of them goals) in 63 games to go along with a minus-15 rating.
He played the entire 2009-10 season with the AHL's San Antonio Rampage.
Upon his return to the NHL the following season, he posted 25 points (11 of them goals) in 65 games and an even plus-minus rating.
You'll recall that Bozak had more points (27) in his first 37 games.
To date, Kyle Turris has not proven himself to be a better hockey player than Tyler Bozak. If anything, Bozak has shown that he's the better player.
Is Turris' camp playing hardball to force a trade out of Phoenix? I have no idea, but if he actually wants that much money, I'm sure Leafs GM Brian Burke is smart enough to stay away.
To put Turris' salary demands in perspective, look at Logan Couture's recently-signed contract extension.
Back in late August, Couture, who was drafted six spots below Turris in the 2007 draft, signed a two-year extension beginning in the 2012-13 season carrying a cap hit of $2.875M
This came after a breakout year where he scored 32 goals and 24 assists for 56 points, enough to earn him a Calder nomination.
Zach Bogosian and Brad Marchand recently signed identical two-year deals worth $2.5M per year.
Turris will be lucky to get $2M per year based on his career-high point total of a whopping 25 points.
You'll recall that Bozak's cap hit is $1.5M.
Aside from their perceived value in terms of salary, at least in my eyes, there are a couple other similarities as well.
Would you trade Tyler Bozak for Kyle Turris, straight up?
They're both centers and they're both right-handed shots.
Barring injuries or incredibly poor play, Tim Connolly and Mikhail Grabovski have the top two center positions locked down, which means any other centermen in the system will be fighting for a bottom-six position.
Therefore, even if Turris were to be traded to Toronto, he would likely end up playing third-line minutes.
Assuming Matthew Lombardi takes a little while longer to heal up, we'd essentially be trading one third-line center for another.
In Cox's article, he says, "Logic suggests that if you have the chance to get a talent like Turris and the cost is Bozak, you do it."
I don't know what kind of logic Cox uses because there are so many other factors to look at when determining whether or not a trade will work.
Yes, Kyle Turris seems to be on the trade market, but that doesn't mean the Leafs have to pursue him for the sake of snagging a player with that level of talent (whatever that might be).
It's too early to be giving up on a player who has only been on the team for a year-and-a-half, especially in favor of a player who has done even less for his team in three years.