With all of the good vibes swirling around the NHL with restricted free agents coming to terms with their respective teams, it seems like most of the news regarding contract negotiations has been positive lately. Brad Marchand in Boston? Signed. Zach Bogosian in Winnipeg? Signed. Even John Tavaras, who isn’t an RFA until next year, has reportedly signed a contract extension. Dare we say the future is bright on Long Island?
Unfortunately for the Phoenix Coyotes, it’s not sunshine and rainbows for every restricted free agent this week.
Meet Kyle Turris. The Coyotes have been negotiating with New Westminster, BC native for the entire summer—yet some contracts take longer than others. It was reported last week that Turris’ camp is looking for a contract in the 3-year, $4 million per season range. Yes, really. Obviously, that’s not the going rate for a 22-year-old prospect that has only scored 19 goals in 131 career games. It doesn’t matter how much potential the former 3rd overall pick, those aren’t the numbers of a $4 million man.
Coyotes GM Don Maloney spoke with Pro Hockey Talk Wednesday evening to update the Kyle Turris talks. The news isn’t promising for Coyotes fans that are eager to see #91 on the ice in Glendale.
“No [there are no updates], Maloney revealed. “But there is no movement and we are not expecting him to be at camp when we open up on Friday.”
In an climate where most teams and players are working under the deadline of training camp to get a deal done, the Coyotes and Turris are almost resigned to the fact that this is going to drag on past September 16. Good thing they were able to trade for Daymond Langkow, right?
Once again, we see an organization balancing potential vs. production with a restricted free agent. Sure, he has shown the potential to be a productive scorer with a healthy dose of flash throughout his 131 games in the NHL. Then again, he’s also shown most of the flash at the AHL level in San Antonio. It’s unfathomable that inconsistency and potential would translate to a hefty payday.
Lets break it down: there’s no way that a player who has scored 25 points in the NHL over the last two hockey seasons can justify a 3-year deal that even approaches James van Riemsdyk’s $4.25 million cap hit. That should seem simple enough. If Turris had a breakout performance in the playoffs against Detroit last season, then he may be able to argue that his career and turned a corner.
A goal and two assists in four games is nice—but hardly qualifies as a “breakout performance.”
Like so many other restricted free agents, he’s a classic example of a player that would be ideally suited for a “second contract.” If the two sides could agree on a shorter term contract, it would buy time for both sides to evaluate the situation before they returned to the bargaining table. It would also provide an opportunity for Turris to fulfill his vast potential over the next few years before he asked for a raise. Until he proves his worth on the ice, it’s understandable why the Coyotes would be hesitant to sign him to any substantial contract.
For now, the waiting game continues.