Is it Kyle Turris' time to shine in Arizona?

GYI0061756801-kyleturris-jeffgross-getty.jpgIf 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)

After years of hype, McDavid to play first NHL game

Connor McDavid
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The hype surrounding Connor McDavid couldn’t be much greater, but finally expectations will start to give way to results.

The NHL career that’s been talked about for years will begin tonight when his Edmonton Oilers face St. Louis.

“It’s something that you dream of for so long,” McDavid told “The draft is one thing, but to finally be in this situation is another, so I’m really excited. It’s been a long road; it’s been a lot of hard work. I think a lot of guys’ stories are different in how they get here, but the one common theme is hard work and my story is not any different that way.”

McDavid has transformed the Oilers with his mere presence. Its breathed fresh optimism into a city that have watched this team struggle in its efforts to dig out of the NHL basement. One also has to wonder if Peter Chiarelli would be the team’s new general manager and Todd McLellan its new head coach if Edmonton hadn’t won the draft lottery.

But where will he lead Edmonton? Will he be just the sixth 70-point rookie of the salary cap era? Will he struggle out of the gate, putting the hype into question? Perhaps he’ll draw comparisons to Steven Stamkos, who had a modest rookie campaign by the standards of a highly regarded top pick, but has nevertheless gone on to become a superstar.

That would surprise Stamkos as the Lightning captain feels McDavid is better than he is currently. Just further proof that those lofty expectations are coming from all sides.

“You don’t want to put too much weight on his shoulders; he’s an 18-year-old kid,” Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli said. “I don’t care how good he is or how good he’ll be, it’s a lot to shoulder if you’re supposed to be the guy and you’re the only guy. Fortunately we have a lot of high-pedigree players that are high picks who have gone through similar situations that he’s going through.”

Edmonton certainly has no shortage of first overall picks, but none as highly regarded as McDavid. But then, few ever are.

Related: There’s ‘a real positive vibe’ in Buffalo, where Eichel will make NHL debut tonight

There’s ‘a real positive vibe’ in Buffalo, where Eichel will make NHL debut tonight

Connor McDavid
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Jack Eichel didn’t disappoint in the preseason, finishing with six points in four games, including two shorthanded goals.

Tonight in Buffalo, his NHL career will start for real when the Sabres host the Ottawa Senators in regular-season action.

“It’s something I’ve dreamed of my whole life, stepping foot on that ice and making the NHL,” Eichel said, per “It’s kind of been a whirlwind, but you’re finally playing hockey for a living and everything you’ve done your whole life is to get to this point. It’s pretty special.”

The 18-year-old’s debut was front-page news this morning in Buffalo, where the Sabres have been among the NHL’s worst teams since last making the playoffs in 2010-11.

Eichel front page

Granted, even with the additions of Eichel, Ryan O'Reilly, Evander Kane, Robin Lehner and Cody Franson, expectations for 2015-16 remain modest for the new-look Sabres. Certainly, a spot in the playoffs would count as a surprise.

But for the fans of a team that’s barely possessed the puck the past couple of years, it’s night and day.

“People are excited,” GM Tim Murray said earlier this week. “It’s great. They think we’ve improved, and there’s a real positive vibe, I believe.

“That’s what I said to our coaches, ‘I want everybody to be positive. I’m the only guy in the organization allowed to be negative.’ That’s the way I wanted it. If I’m the most negative guy in the city about the team, that’s pretty good.”