Arguably no other Predators player has roused as many polarizing emotions as Kyle Turris has for the last couple seasons, including the current one.
The forward recorded the second-worst season of his career in 2018-19; Turris muddled through about two months of injury last season and was simply unable to find his footing once he was back on the ice. Turris has only been slightly better this season, with his improvement primarily (and noticeably) coming after the firing of Peter Laviolette in January.
Turris was a top-ticket draft choice in 2007, eventually being selected third overall by Phoenix in the same class that yielded Patrick Kane at #1 overall. Turris never thrived as a Coyote and was flipped to the Senators in late 2011- where he developed into a quietly coveted center.
In November of 2017, Turris was famously acquired by the Preds from Ottawa in the three-team triangle swap that, in turn, sent Nashville prospects Vladislav Kamenev and Sam Girard to Colorado and then-Avalanche star Matt Duchene to Ottawa. Ironically, the Preds signed the free-agent Duchene less than two years later. After arriving in Nashville, Turris seemed to be the handy second-line center the Preds desperately needed at the time. He finished the 2017-18 season with 51 points in 76 games played, proving the $36 million the Preds agreed to pay him (on the day of the trade) over the course of six seasons was worth the expenditure.
Nearly two full seasons later, Turris is now seen more as a cap vacuum than as a valuable offensive asset. On top of that, Turris hasn't played a full 82-game season since 2014-15. Once Laviolette began benching Turris this season- which could have been due to his lack of performance- his confidence was rattled. Then came the spate of trade rumors around February's trade deadline, which many speculated was the other reason for scratching Turris out of the lineup. In the end, that conjecture was proven untrue as well.
It got to the point where you honestly started feeling bad for Turris; not only was the coaching staff and front office spurning him, but Preds fans were also being kept completely in the dark about the status of a quasi-popular player. Things did, however, begin to look up for Turris after Laviolette's firing on Jan. 6. As it became increasingly clear that Turris and the old coach likely had some bad blood, new coach John Hynes welcomed the center back into the lineup- and has since not taken him out for a single game.
Turris took a career-low 78 shots in 2018-19, following it up with his second-lowest 88 shots this season. He's scored only 16 goals over the past two seasons, just matching his total from the 2017-18 season alone. Turris, who turns 31 in August, might never be the same player as he was in 2015, but Hynes' faith in him provides a glimmer of hope for the remainder of his tenure in Nashville. Before Laviolette's firing this season, Turris tallied 17 points in 34 games and was healthy-scratched for an additional seven. In 28 games under Hynes, Turris has notched 14 points. At first glance, that's a perfectly equal 1:2 ratio under both coaches, but Turris (and the rest of the NHL) is also still owed the 13 remaining postponed games of this season to prove that he's turned a new leaf.
Up until the 2019-20 season was officially postponed on Mar. 12, Turris had three assists in the Preds' last five games. He is also accounting for double the offensive point shares (with 1.4) as he was last season (0.7). Turris' 1.4 OPS ranks 13th on the team, which isn't great, but it's a start for a player who has struggled to maintain playing time this season. Turris is holding onto a Corsi rating that's just over 50 percent.
With an on-ice rating of -9 this season, Turris is experiencing his worst defensive season since 2015-16 in Ottawa, when he went -15. His barely-positive Corsi rating is offset by a negative 49.4 percent Fenwick-For (FF%) rating, which accounts for the total number of shots and missed shots taken for and against a team while a specific player is on the ice. Most of Turris' defensive woes, however, can mostly be explained away by his relegation to the third and fourth forward lines.
In the midst of an unspectacular moment in his career, defense is perhaps Turris' most forgettable shortcoming.
GENERAL EFFECTIVENESS AND TEAM INFLUENCE
The trials of this season are more or less behind Turris now, but his teammates never wavered in their support of him when he was in the thick of it. Turris and his wife, Julie, have always been open about their affinity for the city of Nashville, involving themselves in a number of the team's charity connections. Turris is the team's Player Ambassador for Hockey Is For Everyone month- a league-wide effort to promote diversity and inclusion in hockey, with an emphasis on the LGBT community.
Last summer, Turris served as the captain of Team Canada, guiding them to a silver medal in the IIHF World Championship along with Preds teammate Dante Fabbro. In 2014, Turris served as an alternate captain on Canada's IIHF team, playing alongside future teammate Ryan Ellis.
2019-20 SEASON GRADE: D