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Predators confident Turris strengthens center depth

Veteran acquired in three-team trade joins Johansen, Bonino up middle

by Robby Stanley / NHL.com Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- The Nashville Predators believe the addition of Kyle Turris gives them the depth at center they've been searching for since their inaugural NHL season in 1998-99.

The Predators were a part of a three-team trade with the Colorado Avalanche and Ottawa Senators on Sunday. They sent prospect defenseman Samuel Girard and forward Vladislav Kamenev and a second-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft to the Avalanche and acquired Turris from the Senators. 

Ottawa sent goaltender Andrew Hammond, its first-round pick in 2018, its third-round pick in 2019 and forward Shane Bowers to Colorado for forward Matt Duchene.

Video: COL@NYI: Rosen breaks down Duchene trade

Turris joins Ryan Johansen, Nick Bonino, Colton Sissons, Calle Jarnkrok and Frederick Gaudreau at center for the Predators. It's the type of depth that general manager David Poile thinks can help Nashville to its first Stanley Cup championship.

"Since the franchise started 20 years ago, our skill and depth at the center position has always been something that we've coveted and continually searched for," Poile said. "With the acquisition of Kyle Turris, we are now as skilled and as deep at the center position as we ever have been." 

Poile said the trade would not have happened if the Predators weren't able to sign Turris to a six-year, $36 million contract that will keep him with Nashville through the 2022-23 season. Turris' five-year, $17.5 million contract expires after this season.

"When you couple that with the signings that we've had with the majority of our core forwards the last two seasons, including Ryan Johansen, Viktor Arvidsson, Calle Jarnkrok, Filip Forsberg, Nick Bonino, the majority of our core forwards are under contract for at least the next three seasons," Poile said. "And a few of them for beyond that."

 

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Turris had only a few hours to communicate with the Predators and make the decision of whether to commit for the long term.

"It's an interesting position to be in," Turris said. "My wife and I had talked about places that were possibilities and we're real excited about the idea of Nashville. We've heard so many great things about the city, the people there, the neighborhoods, the school systems, and obviously the franchise is in such a great place with having so much success last year and so much success to come. And the people in it are great people. So right away Nashville we felt like would be a great fit. That part of it was an easy decision."

Poile said Turris has been on the Predators' radar since July 1 after they signed Bonino to a four-year, $16.4 million contract and Scott Hartnell to a one-year, $1 million contract. 

"Meaning that, what we do after July 1 happens and you review all of the free agents and what have you, we actually start processing our list into next year," Poile said. "You've got like a [Islanders forward John Tavares] is going to be unrestricted for example. We've got Turris there and we're always looking for center-ice men so he was on our radar at that time. But we didn't talk specifically on Turris until, I'm guessing, a little bit some time into training camp."

Turris still must go through the immigration process to get to Nashville so it's possible he will not be available for the Predators' game at the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; FS-TN, FS-O, NHL.TV). However, Turris is expected to debut when the Predators play the Pittsburgh Penguins for the first time at Bridgestone Arena since losing Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; ATTSN-PT, FS-TN, NHL.TV).

"I'm not sure how long the immigration process is going to take," Turris said. "[Depends] on how that goes. I'll definitely be in Nashville by middle of this week for sure and hopefully get a few practices in before the game on Saturday."

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