The name Kyle Turris isn’t one that often denotes stardom when brought up in NHL circles.
Drafted third-overall back in 2007, Turris hasn’t lit the league up during the majority of his six seasons in the big leagues. That is, until the last few years. Turris’ career got off to a rocky start when he was tabbed two picks after Patrick Kane by the then Phoenix Coyotes at the 2007 draft.
Fresh off a few monstrous seasons in the BCHL, in which Turris racked up 193 points in only 110 game, the centreman never quite earned the respect of the Coyotes organization during his time in the desert, posting only 45 points over two full(ish) seasons with the club.
While the sum isn’t an impressive one, it’s also not too surprising for a 19-year-old whose prior experience included only the BCHL and the University of Wisconsin. Perhaps the expectations were too great too early for Turris, especially considering he debuted on a team that hadn’t been to the playoffs in half a decade, and whose top two scorers were Shane Doan and Olli Jokinen–not exactly a recipe for early success.
And so the Coyotes shipped Turris out of the desert, trading him to the Ottawa Senators for David Rundblad and a 2012 second-round pick. The move turned out to be an exceptional one for the Senators, as Turris quickly began to pick up steam, upping his points-per-game pace in each of his four seasons in Ottawa.
The 2014-15 campaign served as a career-best effort, as Turris totalled 24 goals and 64 points – certainly a respectable sum, and one that has put him on the path of redemption after years of being accused of underwhelming play.
Turris has been a different player since stepping foot in the nation’s capital. He scored 12 goals in 49 games during his first run as a Senator, and tallied a similar 12 in 48 during his second season there. Both totals project to a 20-goal pace over a full 82-game season, and Turris cleared things up with a banner 26-goal, 58-point effort in 2013-14 – his third season with the team.
Lost amid the unconventional trajectory that his career has taken is the fact that Turris is only 26 years old and just entering his prime. It may have taken him a bit of time to find his footing in the big leagues, but make no mistake – he still has plenty of time to light it up as an NHL mainstay.
According to an interview Turris gave to TSN1050, it seems the young pivot’s time in Arizona was a fairly tumultuous one in terms of his development. Asked to give his thoughts on the situation of Tampa Bay young gun Jonathan Drouin – who’s had a similarly rocky start to his career – Turris offered this:
“It can be tricky. In my situation in Phoenix, the organization was in a difficult situation and the idea was to kind of win immediately and have a kind of slower progression to develop the younger guys. I just wanted the opportunity to grow and become the player that they drafted me to be. I’m extremely thankful I’ve gotten that opportunity in Ottawa and I’ve tried to make the most of it.”
And make the most of it he has. Turris’ numbers over the past two seasons aren’t anything to scoff at. He’s posted 50 total goals over the last two campaigns – that total ranks higher than offensive mainstays like Jakub Voracek, Matt Duchene, and Eric Staal (who have all suited up for a similar number of games in that time). It’s not just older established stars that Turris has competed with in this regard either – those 50 goals also beat out young guns like former first-overall draft pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Stanley Cup champion Brandon Saad, and Tampa Bay triplet member Ondrej Palat (again in a similar number of games).
A look at Turris’ total points over the last two seasons tells a similar story. His 122 points over that span have him tied for the 31st-most among all NHL skaters, right alongside Lightning star Tyler Johnson.
Like it or not, Turris is here to stay, and he’s proven for two straight seasons that he has the offensive chops to be a legitimate offensive force in the NHL. His numbers thus far this season only hammer home that point, as Turris has already amassed four goals and six points in his first four games. Lining up as the Senators’ first-line centreman, his two wingers – Mark Stone and Mike Hoffman – have a combined 10 points already as well.
Turris has been trending upwards for the past four seasons since returning to Canada, and with two solid offensive campaigns under his belt and a strong start so far, this could very well be the year that the 26-year-old sniper tops the 30-goal plateau and officially establishes himself as a bona fide NHL star.