GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Kyle Turris has been back to Arizona once since being traded to the Ottawa Senators, but he doesn't expect the reception to be much different than the last time he returned to town when the Senators play the finale of a six-game season-opening road trip Tuesday against the Phoenix Coyotes.
Taken by the Coyotes with the third pick of the 2007 NHL Draft, Turris played three NHL games in 2007-08 after his freshman season at college finished, and then had 20 points in 63 games in 2008-09. He spent two of the next three seasons in the minors, and after a difficult contract negotiation and complaints by Turris about the restrictive coaching style of Dave Tippett, his ice time and playing partners, Coyotes general manager Don Maloney opted to trade Turris on Dec. 17, 2011.
"It's a part of my career I'll never forget," Turris said. "Playing my first NHL game, my first point, my first playoff game against Detroit. But I'm over-the-moon happy to be in Ottawa. It was meant to be and so thankful that they gave me this chance to contribute every night. It couldn't have been better. It's a completely different style of play. All of the guys in the room are excited to step out and help out and get the chance to contribute. I look forward to it every day."
Turris was booed extensively by the Jobing.com Arena crowd when he returned for the first time, Jan. 24, 2012, when didn't have a point in the Coyotes' 3-2 victory. Turris said he is prepared for more of the same Tuesday.
"I'm sure I'm going to get a similar welcome to the last time I was here, which is fine," he said. "I didn't expect welcoming signs or a pat on the back. It's part of pro sports. I don't think the fans quite understand, but I've moved on. It was best for both parties to go our own way."
In exchange for Turris, Phoenix obtained David Rundblad, who at 24 has yet to stick in the NHL and will be a healthy scratch Tuesday for the fourth time in the first seven games, and a second-round draft pick later sent to the Columbus Blue Jackets as part of the deal for center Antoine Vermette. Their search for a playmaking center continued this summer when they signed Mike Ribeiro to a five-year, $22 million contract in July. Ribeiro has three assists in his first six games.
Turris has a goal and four assists in five games, and his five points are tied with Bobby Ryan for the team lead.
Maloney said the stunted progress of players like Turris, Mikkel Boedker and Martin Hanzal, all of whom were rushed to the NHL by the Coyotes during the Gretzky era, has influenced current decision-making on young players. He cited 2013 first-round pick Max Domi, who showed well in training camp but was returned to London of the Ontario Hockey League.
"We are not a rebuilding team," Maloney said. "We feel we don't have to rush players into a situation that they might not be ready for and might inhibit their progress. Here we are in 2013, six years after that draft, and Kyle has started to become the player we thought he could be with Ottawa."
The Coyotes are shooting for their fourth straight win and fifth in seven games to begin the season. Veteran Jeff Halpern, signed as a free agent, will make his Phoenix debut and center the fourth line. He gives the Coyotes a defensive-minded center and a right-hander in the face-off circle.
Here are the lineups the teams are expected to use Tuesday: