Few if any Nashville Predators players could claim a more “2020” 2019-20 season than Kyle Turris. The Matt Duchene acquisition, Turris’s always discussed $6,000,000 price tag, the seven-game “healthy scratch”, a head coaching change, inconsistency with linemates, and the Turris out/Tomasino in plan made for a challenging season for the 12-year NHL veteran. It’s difficult to summarize Turris’s season without some caveats, but let’s start by looking at the numbers.
The numbers aren’t terrific when looking at the isolates for Turris this season. Offensively, he finished the season with only nine goals—not the offensive production a team needs from a second-line player. Defensively, the numbers are even worse. Turris had his worst statistical performance in even strength defense since his 2012-2013 season. The numbers this season are just...rough—offensively and especially defensively.
There were several factors that contributed to Turris’s challenging season, and ignoring those would be as egregious as ignoring the statistics when it comes to a complete picture of his year.
One issue that Turris dealt with all season long was a continuing rotation of linemates. With the offseason addition of Matt Duchene and the solid performance Nick Bonino had this year, it seemed that the coaching staff never could settle on a place for Turris to land and succeed. The early season line shuffling continued right through the season for Turris, whose last ten games saw him play left wing, right wing, and center on lines one, two, three, and four with seven different teammates.
Probably the biggest challenge the 2019-20 season will be remembered for in regards to Turris is the still unexplained seven game healthy scratch by then-Head Coach Peter Laviolette in late November. The decision baffled fans and didn’t compute statistically either (as evidenced by this breakdown Bryan provided in November). The #FreeTurris movement gained momentum among fans, beautifully highlighted by this glorious bait and switch at the November 27, 2019 game in Bridgestone.
Turris’ $6,000,000 price tag has been a boon for his wallet but an albatross around his neck. Expectations of a $6M player aren’t the same as expectations of an often middle-six player who sometimes only gets fourth-line minutes of ice time. Kyle Turris has been both simultaneously this season. It isn’t often that Turris is discussed without his hefty price tag being used as an immediate adjective, and while the trade may have brought GM David Poile heat, it is Turris who has to skate with the expectations.
None of this is to say that Turris has been a total bust this year. He has had his share of beautiful plays, but this one warms my heart just a touch more than all the others. In his first game back after the notorious healthy scratch incident of 2019, Turris finds the back of the net in what must be the most gentleman-like passive aggressive “take that” to the powers that be who benched him. (Did I mention it’s a power play goal???)
[Ed.: He brought that whole power play alive, too—not just the goal, which he earned. This clip doesn’t have all of his shift, but the goal was just a glorious cap on some sweet power-play quarterbacking.]
Turris’ future with the Nashville Predators has been a source of speculation for some time. With no offer at the April trade deadline, Poile now may be looking at a buyout to free up some cap space. This option has been on the table for a very specific purpose and player in Philip Tomasino, as reported by our own Bryan B. Media and fans alike are keeping a very close watch to see how the organization moves forward with regards to Turris.
Final Grade: C-
It was not a great year statistically for Kyle Turris. With no specific role to fill, inconsistent linemates to work with, and an enigmatic healthy scratch in November, it’s difficult to know what expectations by which to grade him. Do I think he performed as well as he could? No. Do I think he can still be a key contributor in the future? Yes. Do I think that will be with the Nashville Predators? I don’t want to answer that.
How would you grade Kyle Turris for the 2019-2020 season?
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