If you didn’t know better, you’d think that former Coyotes first round pick Kyle Turris had already busted out of the NHL. He made his NHL debut in 2007-2008 after leaving the University of Wisconsin after one season. It was clear that Turris was rushed and in 2008-2009 he played 63 games for the Coyotes in 2008-2009 under coach Wayne Gretzky. Things did not exactly go well as the young Turris struggled scoring just 8 goals in that time.
Since then, he’s been a fixture in the AHL with San Antonio and seemingly forgotten about since Dave Tippett took over and while Tippett isn’t exactly a guy that’s very high on using rookies, Turris is trying to prove a point this year that he can stick in the NHL and play the game that Dave Tippett is looking for out of him. Oh yeah, and he’s still just 21 years-old. ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun got the low-down on what’s going on in the desert with Turris.
“What I notice in Kyle now on the ice is that he looks like a man now,” said [Coyotes GM Don] Maloney, who made the decision to demote Turris late in the 2008-09 season. “He doesn’t look like a little boy that has good instincts but physically is continually overwhelmed. You watch how he’s shooting the puck — he’s just thickened up.
“Whether it’s good enough to start with us and help us win … there’s a role here for Kyle on this team. He has everything we want in a player in regards to his [competitiveness], his second effort, his will — he’s a very driven kid. The next 2-3 weeks will determine whether he can come in here and grab a spot or does he need more time to continue that maturation process.”
The one area the Coyotes are seemingly thin at is center and if Turris can put it all together and win a job in training camp, that would provide a huge lift for the team. As it is right now, they’re poised to have former full-time winger Wojtek Wolski move to center to give them a more attack-oriented first line. Turris has the talent to eventually get to that point, but whether or not coach Dave Tippett wants Turris to do more of his learning on the ice in the NHL isn’t all that likely (judging by previous years).
Of course, Kyle Turris is still just a kid. He’ll grow into becoming a fixture in the NHL but it’s starting to look like his time is now in Arizona.
(Photo: Jeff Gross – Getty Images)