Kyle Turris

Kyle Turris either wants a ton of money or to drive Coyotes GM Don Maloney crazy

Phoenix Coyotes restricted free agent Kyle Turris would normally be just over a week away from preparing to join the team in training camp. Instead, he’s sitting things out waiting to get a new contract worked out with the team and after a few frustrating seasons with Phoenix, negotiations might be going a bit difficult for both sides.

Turris was the Coyotes first round pick in 2007 and since then he’s participated with the team three out of the last four years totaling up 131 games played and just 46 points (19 goals, 27 assists). The last two seasons he’s played in 63 games in 2008-2009 and 65 games in 2010-2011 respectively while still alternating between the NHL and the AHL as well as the NHL and the press box as a healthy scratch. Turris spent all of 2009-2010 in the AHL.

With those kinds of numbers in mind, Turris’ negotiations with the Coyotes apparently aren’t going too hot and James van Riemsdyk’s new contract might be to blame for that. ESPN’s Scott Burnside reports on what he’s heard Turris is asking for and if you’re Coyotes GM Don Maloney you’d probably be exasperated by the numbers.

Still, league sources told that Turris is looking for a three-year deal worth an average of slightly more than $4 million annually or a two-year deal worth slightly more than $3 million. Those numbers would put Turris in the same high-rent district as James van Riemsdyk, who recently signed a six-year extension with the Philadelphia Flyers worth an average of $4.25 million. Van Riemsdyk is another player from that talent-rich 2007 draft class; he was the second overall pick behind No. 1 selection Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks.

With van Riemsdyk’s monster extension worth six years and $25.5 million, Turris feels that he’s in the same neighborhood talent-wise as the Flyers budding star. The problem here is that Turris didn’t get to show off in the playoffs the way van Riemsdyk was able to. It was in the Eastern Conference playoffs where van Riemsdyk turned up his game and played like a dominating big forward taking plenty of shots and driving the net to create scoring chances. It was a revelation to see van Riemsdyk break out like that, but for Turris, being able to impress Coyotes coach Dave Tippett has been tough to do.

In Turris’ last two NHL seasons, he’s averaged time on ice that’s more befitting of a fourth liner than a first round draft pick. In 2008-2009 he averaged 12:55 played per game and this past season that number dropped to 11:16 per game. For a guy who’s meant to be an offensive threat and a playmaker, playing that little per night is not going to get it done, especially playing on the fourth line. Turris was able to score 11 goals with 14 assists last season but spent the latter half of the year in the press box.

In the playoffs, however, Turris did play in all four games the Coyotes had and scored a goal with two assists while averaging 13:05 played per game in a series that saw them swept out by the Red Wings. It’s not the kind of epiphany postseason that van Riemsdyk saw, and for Turris that’s what’s going to work against him if he thinks he can get that kind of deal from the Coyotes. The Coyotes still operating without an owner doesn’t help matters much either.

You have to wonder if such an exorbitant asking price considering his output is either based on what he might eventually do if given more playing time or if it’s Turris and agent Kurt Overhardt’s not-so subtle way of telling the Coyotes they’d like to get more playing time come hell or high water. With a presumed large gap between the demands and what the Coyotes are offering, it could set the stage for an eventual trade. It’s all part of the hard bargaining process, of course, and we’re getting a little peek as to how things go but you have to believe things are a bit more difficult between both teams than we’ve known all along.

After 20-game absence, Elias to make season debut for Devils

Patrik Elias
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It took a while, but Patrik Elias‘ campaign is ready to get underway.

Elias, who’s yet to play this year because of a knee injury, says he’ll be in the New Jersey lineup tonight when the Devils host the Blue Jackets at Prudential (per The Record).

The 39-year-old’s presence should provide an emotional lift in front of the home crowd.

A lifelong Devil — only Ken Daneyko and Martin Brodeur have appeared in more games — fans may be witnessing Elias’ last year in uniform. It’s fair to suggest he could be on the verge of retirement, given he’s in the last of a three-year, $16.5 million deal and will turn 40 in April.

As for tonight, it’s not yet official who Elias will play with — or how much he’ll play. He did take line rushes with Jacob Josefson and Stefan Matteau at Tuesday’s practice.

After three-game absence, Johnson back for Bolts this week

Carl Gunnarsson, Tyler Johnson
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The Lightning have a busy stretch of the schedule coming up, with three games in the next four nights.

And it sounds like they’ll get a big lineup reinforcement to help them through it.

Per LA Kings Insider — the Kings are in Tampa tonight — Bolts head coach Jon Cooper confirmed that Tyler Johnson will be back in the lineup “at some point” this week, after missing the last three games with an upper-body injury.

Johnson has been out of the lineup since taking a Dave Bolland hit on Nov. 14. The timing of the injury was lousy, especially since Johnson looked to be rounding into form — after a rough October in which he failed to score a goal and had just five points in 12 games, Johnson was playing well in November, with three goals and five points in his first six games.

There’s no denying the Bolts could use Johnson back in the mix.

The club has been ravaged by injury lately and is currently without the services of Ondrej Palat, Jonathan Drouin and Cedric Paquette at forward.

The injuries are a big reason why Tampa is off to a mediocre 10-9-3 start. That said, the team has looked good in each of its last two games — a 2-1 win over the Rangers in a rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference Final, followed by a 5-0 blowout of the Ducks on Saturday.

As for when Johnson might get back in? The Bolts play tonight at home against L.A., on Friday in Washington, then back at home on Saturday against the Islanders.

Will the Bruins re-sign Loui Eriksson?

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Loui Eriksson, one of the key pieces Boston acquired in the Tyler Seguin trade, is in the last of his six-year, $25.5 million deal and will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

And, at least for now, there doesn’t appear to be much certainty about his future as a Bruin.

“I’ll never, ever comment publicly in regard to individual players and negotiations and such,” B’s GM Don Sweeney told the Boston Herald this week. “Whether (comments) come out from the other side or wherever, they’re not going to come from me.

“He’s a big part of our team and he’s off to a really good start.”

Eriksson is certainly off to a good start — nine goals and 18 points in 20 games, his highest points-per-game average (.90) since coming to Boston, and the second-highest of his career.

He’s also playing nearly 20 minutes per night, enjoying great chemistry playing alongside David Krejci and, after an injury-riddled first year as a Bruin followed by last year’s playoff miss, seems to have really found his groove.

So why the silence on the extension front?

Two weeks ago, Eriksson told the Globe his agent, J.P. Barry, hasn’t had any discussions with Sweeney about re-signing in Boston.

“There’s not much you can really do about it now,” the 30-year-old Swede explained. “I’m trying to focus on playing good and trying to help this team as much as possible. Then we’ll see what happens after this year.”

Obviously, money is a factor.

Looking ahead, Boston’s current cap crunch doesn’t project to get much lighter. The club already has $61 million in salary committed for next season (per War On Ice), and Sweeney has to be mindful of other important contracts on the horizon.

Torey Krug is a restricted free agent at year’s end, and in line for a raise on the $3.4 million he made this season. Brad Marchand will be a UFA following the ’16-17 campaign.

And you’d think Sweeney would want to keep money free to eventually sort out Boston’s defense. The blueline has been an issue this season; it’s also getting old and will likely need an injection of new blood in the near future.

There’s also the question if, should he head to free agency, Eriksson couldn’t be replaced internally. The B’s are flush with young wingers — Jimmy Hayes, Brett Connolly, Seth Griffith, David Pastrnak, Frank Vatrano and Alexander Khokhlachev are all 26 or under — which could make Eriksson expendable.

PHT Morning Skate: There’s a third Strome brother on the horizon

Ryan Strome, Johnny Boychuk
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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Matthew Strome — the younger brother of the Isles’ Ryan and the Coyotes’ Dylan — is making waves as a 16-year-old rookie with OHL Hamilton. (

Vern Fiddler caught country legend George Straight’s hat at a concert this summer. He’s apparently received big money offers for the lid, but isn’t willing to sell. (Ottawa Sun)

Is Anders Nilsson the Oilers’ No. 1 goalie? (Edmonton Journal)

Good piece here on Max Pacioretty‘s captaincy in Montreal. (New York Times)

Some appreciation for gritty Leafs forward Leo Komarov. (Toronto Sun)

According to this piece, GM Marc Bergevin has been the Habs’ MVP this season. (Montreal Gazette)