Another piece of the puzzle has been put in place as the Coyotes sign 18 year old Kyle Turris to a 3 year entry level contract.
He will join the Coyotes on Tuesday in time for the team picture and practice.
I had a chance to speak with Kyle today after he agreed to terms on his new deal and for me to describe just how excited he was, would not do it justice. He is an unbelievably grounded kid, and he has that infectious enthusiasm that's hard to contain.
You don't want to contain this energy and ambition anyway.
All season long, Kyle has sent me texts before and after our games, just to check in, ask about line combinations and how the guys are doing. He has such great passion for the game. He can't get enough.
He has been waiting for this moment since he was drafted by the Coyotes management team, lead by Wayne Gretzky, Don Maloney, Keith Gretzky and Tom Kurvers, in Columbus last June.
He knew he was going to be well coached and well prepared in Wisconsin. His coach is a very good man in Mike Eaves. They have a very young team that is going to do some good things, and you know that if Turris were to stay, the possibility of a Championship would be very strong. Kyle knew he was going to have to play against more mature players, and get stronger himself. He did.
Now its time for the next step. His goal all along has been to play in the NHL, to be a reliable, go-to guy, like his idols in the game.
He has worn #19 whenever he can as his favorite players have been Steve Yzerman and Burnaby's own, Joe Sakic. He will likely wear #91 with the Coyotes.
If I were to describe the way young Turris plays right now, it's more comparable to Steve, and maybe that Is because he is a right hand shot, like Yzerman and not Sakic. But I played Tier 2 Jr. A with Yzerman and played against him in Major Jr. A and in the NHL and there are more similarities to his game, than Joe's.
Turris is a very sound player in his own end, like the two above. He likes to get his nose dirty and engage when it comes to loose pucks and defending his own net. Yet, when he gets the puck, he moves it quick and then darts to the open spaces. He rarely paints himself into a corner and puts himself in a bad spot. That's likely why he can play at 170 or 180 lbs.
He gets it. He understands how to play on the defensive side of the puck and as a centerman in your own end, that's the toughest part about being in the NHL. It's the effort you put forth in your own zone, battling the likes of Thornton, Modano, Marleau, Kopitar, and Getzlaf. All that energy and defending, and then you have to get the puck and go to the other end and try to make a play. It's not that easy.
Kyle Turris has played a lot of hockey this year.
He has played in an 8 game Russian Super Series representing Canada. (won)
He has played in the World Jr. Championships (won)
He has played for Wisconsin and lead them in the scoring.
He will now play for the Phoenix Coyotes and another idol of his, Wayne Gretzky.
It will be important to just let him play a few games and get his feet wet. Let him don the jersey and enjoy the game, with no pressure right now. He has had a long season, with pressure every step of the way.
Wayne Gretzky knows what it's like. He has been great with the kids this season. Look at the development of Martin Hanzal
, Peter Mueller, Daniel Winnik, Keith Yandle
and Daniel Carcillo.
You talk to any GM and opposing coach and they say the same thing. The Coyotes have a good thing going. They have structure now. They have a plan and vision and they have young kids that can play.
Kyle Turris is a huge piece that fits like a glove.
There is the big, rangy center in Hanzal, that can go head to head with the big boys. There is Mueller that can flat out make a play and shoot the puck like Sakic can. You have the gumption of Carcillo and the boardwork and work ethic of Winnik, to go along with the vision of Yandle. This is just mentioning the young players, not the veterans that have proven themselves in the NHL, year after year.
Turris will eventually be the guy that makes them all go. He will be the engine that never stops.
Let's just all let the kids develop now. Let's sit back and have some fun. He is a great kid.
The cupboard in the kitchen isn't bare anymore.
Welcome to Arizona Kyle. We're looking forward to it.