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Game #24 – Hawks vs. Predators: Spotlight – Turris Lura Lural

It’s rare we get a blockbuster trade in the NHL. Most GMs would cover themselves in their own piss for anything that put their name in league-wide headlines, and even the ones that want to get out there are severely handicapped by the salary cap. So it’s strange that David Poile has been part of two of the biggest trades in the league the past two seasons. First it was PK Subban for Shea Weber, and then Poile pulled the trigger on the #2 center his team needed since he pulled the trigger on another huge deal for Ryan Johansen for Seth Jones. When it comes to taking chances, Poile seems to be way ahead of his competition.

Is Turris the final piece for the Predators? It sure feels that way. The Preds have been short down the middle for what seems like their entire existence. Last year when Ryan Johansen went down they were forced to go forward with Mike Fisher and Calle Jarnkrok. Those are fine players but not quite enough. They were just good enough to break the Predators heart.

It took Turris a lot longer to become a real player in the NHL than the player he was picked two spots behind in 2007, which would be Patrick Kane. He didn’t play his first year, and then was inserted into a pretty terrible situation with Wayne Gretzky behind the bench. Turris clearly saw that it would never work in Arizona, asking out just about as soon as he could, when his entry-level deal was up.

Turris took off in his second year in the Northern Capital, which was the abbreviated season of 2013. Since then, Turris has averaged better than a point every two games, or 50+ in other words if you go that way. He was counted on for #1 center production in Ottawa, which wasn’t really fair to him as that’s not what he is. Turris’s most effective years came with Mike Hoffman and Mark Stone. Last year Turris was asked to help out with kid Ryan Dzingel and the slowly bloating Bobby Ryan, and his production dropped a touch.

Once again, it seemed that Turris read the writing on the wall where he was, and didn’t sign an extension in Ottawa. Or he was just bored out of his mind. With Eugene Melynyk’s internal budget and the pure torture of Guy Boucher’s system, Turris forced the Senators’ hand. He seems to have landed in the perfect situation.

Turris has been asked to finally get something out of Kevin Fiala. Early returns are good, as Fiala has put up seven points in the eight games since Turris arrived and became his center. Craig Smith also has seven points in Turris’s eight games, and they’ve been the one line in Nashville that isn’t surrendering far better chances than they are creating. Which hasn’t really mattered given how Rinne has played and how they’ve finished at the other end of late.

Turris was immediately signed to a six-year extension at $6 million per season, which sets the Preds up pretty swell for the next few years. Only Fiala among the forwards comes up for a new deal in the next two years, at least of the forwards who matter. Ryan Ellis is due a new deal after next year, and he’s going to get a massive raise and may have to find it elsewhere. And after next season Pekka Rinne’s deal is up. If they want him to stay they certainly can get him to come down from his current $7 million at 37. Johansen, Arvidsson, Turris, Bonino, Forsberg, Smith, Subban, Josi, Ekholm are all locked in. That’s about as good of a core locked up as you’ll find anywhere.

It certainly appears to be all systems go for the Predators this season, and you wonder who can match Johansen-Turris-Bonino down the middle. It’s certainly not the Blues. It could be the Oilers, but they are rotting sushi just about everywhere else. Maybe the Flames in a conference final, but they have issues as well. The Jets? Anyone counting on the Jets for anything ever?

The runway lights are on for the Predators now, that’s for sure.

Game #24 Preview




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