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 ESPN.com 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.

Antti Niemi had to make a save with his bare hand

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Antti Niemi made 31 saves in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 4-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night, and 30 of them were pretty standard.

The one that wasn’t came in the third period when he lost his glove during a scramble around the net and still managed to instinctively make a save on the puck. With his bare hand.

Niemi said after the game, via the Tribune Review, that he thought the referees would stop the play after his glove came off, and when they didn’t “I just kept playing.”

You can watch the play by clicking here.

Probably not the type of thing you want to see happening because that looks like a great way to break a bone (or the entire hand) and get sidelined for extended period of time. Niemi said the officials told him there will no longer be an automatic whistle for goalies losing a glove or a blocker, but that one will remain for when they lose their helmet.

The Penguins signed Niemi to a one-year contract this summer as a replacement for Marc-Andre Fleury after they lost him in the expansion draft to the Vegas Golden Knights. Niemi is looking to rebound from a tough year in Dallas. He will serve as Matt Murray‘s backup for the season.

‘A good start’ — Stamkos stands out in preseason debut

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The Tampa Bay Lightning and National Hockey League unveiled the 2018 All-Star Game logo Friday.

Far more importantly for the Bolts this evening was the return of their all-star center Steven Stamkos, as he made his preseason debut in what was his first game in 10 months.

His 2016-17 season was abruptly ended in the middle of November because of a knee injury and subsequent surgery, making it the second time in four years his regular season had been disrupted by a major injury.

It may still take a while before Stamkos feels truly comfortable coming back from this injury.But his performance on Friday proved to be a very promising start for No. 91, the Bolts and their fans in Tampa Bay.

He didn’t score, but he assisted on two first period goals, including a nice set-up to linemate Nikita Kucherov, and the Lightning beat the Nashville Predators by a score of 3-1. Stamkos also received a healthy dose of ice time, playing more than 19 minutes, including 5:32 on the power play.

His pass to Kucherov resulted in a power play goal.

“It was exciting to get out there, I was pretty anxious about it… It was a good start, something to build on,” said Stamkos afterward, per the Lightning. “It was nice to just go through a game day, I haven’t done it in a long time… I was glad with how the first one went.”

Golden Knights assign 2017 first-round picks Glass, Suzuki to junior

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The Vegas Golden Knights continue to make roster moves during their inaugural training camp.

On Friday, the expansion club assigned four players to junior. That includes 2017 first-round picks Cody Glass of the Portland Winterhawks and Nick Suzuki of the Owen Sound Attack.

The Golden Knights made franchise history by taking Glass with the sixth overall pick and then selected Suzuki at 13th overall. Both players appeared in two preseason games for Vegas, each recording two points in the exhibition opener versus the Vancouver Canucks.

“Nobody is going to rush (the rookies), that’s for sure,” Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant told the Las Vegas Sun following the club’s 9-4 win over Vancouver on Sunday.

“We are in a position where we want to make sure they are ready to play. They are going to be good players when they’re healthy and strong enough to play in the league.”

Vegas has all three 2017 first-round picks — Glass, Suzuki and Erik Brannstrom — signed to three-year entry-level contracts.

Mitchell signed PTO with Blue Jackets — shortly after getting cut by Blackhawks

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When the Chicago Blackhawks announced their roster moves yesterday, John Mitchell was among the cuts.

His professional tryout with the Blackhawks had come to an end, as it did for veterans Mark Stuart and Drew Miller.

It can be an uphill battle to make an NHL roster for veterans on professional tryouts. But for Mitchell, he quickly received another opportunity to attend a camp and try to land a spot, signing a PTO with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Mitchell, 32, has appeared in 548 NHL regular season games with 70 goals and 177 points.

Meanwhile, the Blue Jackets are still without forward and restricted free agent Josh Anderson, as the two sides are stuck in a contract impasse right now. It was reported on Thursday that his representatives have been in contact with Hockey Canada about the 2018 Olympics.