During the last off-season, the Nashville Predators struck a deal with Nick Bonino that would put him in a gold uniform. The early talk was that the Pittsburgh Penguins 3C would transition nicely into Nashville’s 2C. However, early data and missed time showed that this may not have been the right fit.
Finally, after a summer of waiting, a blockbuster trade Nashville had been waiting for (and the true heir to the 2C throne) went down with General Manager David Poile acquiring Matt Duchene...wait, hold on...Kyle Turris, Poile got Kyle Turris. The trade went down between three teams. Instead of wasting my keystrokes, check out this tweet:
So, with the acquisition of Kyle Turris, how’d he do? (shoutout to my boy Samuel Girard!)
Turris finished the season with 16 goals and 35 assists for a total of 51 points. (Of course, 3 goals and 6 assists were tallied while still with the Ottawa Senators) If you want to compare centers, Ryan Johansen had 15 goals, 39 assists (54 points); Bonino had 12 goals, 13 assists (25 points). Both played in fewer games.
Another stat of note is that Turris had the worst faceoff win percentage of any center on the team with 49.5%. Faceoff wins aside, I would argue he filled the role of 2nd line center nicely. Take a look at these comparisons to the other centers on the team:
It seems VERY clear that Turris belongs in the 2C position and that he compares very nicely to Johansen in many aspects and even a little better in a few.
One of the things I (and many others) felt we needed was someone to come in and make 2nd line magic happen with Craig Smith and Kevin Fiala. His impact was immediate. Acronyms were afoot after the first night. SmurF, FiST, FiTS... and deservedly so! Major improvement in the second line was abundantly obvious and the train kept on rolling until...until the playoffs... (see “Worst Moment” below)
For me, it has to be this go ahead shootout goal against the Montreal Canadiens:
I chose this as the best moment for a plethora of reasons. First and foremost, this was still early on in the season and even earlier on in his Predators career. While his first goal as a Predator was nice, this one had higher drama for everyone, including mysel. I was at this game with my wife. We are teachers; it was right before Thanksgiving. We went to Bridgestone early enough to eat some delicious barbecue nachos. Midway through the second period, they started to haunt me. I made it to about 8 to go in the 2nd before visiting a remarkably clean bathroom, removing my all white jersey, and vomiting for what seemed like hours. Jersey was clean, felt 30% better, went on with the game. My wife offered to leave, but I declined. When the game went in to overtime, I remember thinking, “They’d better win this damn game”. And you know what? Kyle Turris didn’t let me down. This was also the Nashville debut of the “blade flick”, which I still think is amazingly cool and still look for every time he’s in a shootout or on a breakaway.
The playoffs. He had 3 assists. Nick Bonino (the same Nick Bonino from the chart above) had 3 assists...and 2 goals! If you need to look back at the comparison chart to really let that sink in, go ahead. In a recent discussion with OTF writer Kate R, she said something that summed up the Kyle Turris Playoff Experience better than I ever could: “I was honestly kind of hoping he was playing either hurt or sick just because the alternative was that he was just playing bad...and then he went to Worlds.” Of course, I have hope that this was isolated incident and that next year’s playoff run will be much better.
I’m a teacher. I teach in a school with no +/-. If I were grading him at school, it’d be a B. But since I can use the ol’ grade wrench here, let’s turn it up just a bit. He was definitely better than average, but a solid playoff performance would have helped solidify him into A- range.