Kyle Turris entered the 2011-12 season still in the midst of a rocky relationship with the Phoenix Coyotes. Now the 23-year-old is a member of the Ottawa Senators, and will remain so for the next six years.
Turris, who finished last season strong with Ottawa after being dealt from Phoenix last December, signed a five-year contract extension through the 2017-18 season on Wednesday. He had 12 goals and 17 assists in 49 regular-season games for Ottawa before going 1-2-3 in a seven-game, first-round Stanley Cup Playoff series loss to the New York Rangers. On April 18, Turris became the 13th player in franchise history to record a playoff overtime-winning goal when he scored to lift the Senators to a 3-2 victory in Game 4 at Scotiabank Place.
The contract kicks in beginning with the 2013-14 season and will have an average annual value of $3.5 million.
After being traded from Phoenix to Ottawa last season, Kyle Turris emerged as a difference-maker for the Senators. On Wednesday, he was rewarded with a five-year contract extension. (Photo: Getty Images)
"I'm really excited," said Turris, who was acquired in exchange for defenseman David Rundblad and a second-round pick in this year's NHL Draft. "I love it here in Ottawa. I love being part of the organization and the people in it and the hockey team we have here. I'm really looking forward to being here the next six years, and hopefully past that.
"I knew at the end of the year that this was the place I wanted to be, and I wanted to be for a long time. I love the city. I love everything about it."
It is expected that Turris -- who was drafted No. 3 by the Coyotes in 2007 -- will open the 2012-13 season on Ottawa's second line, centering Guillaume Latendresse and captain Daniel Alfredsson.
"He's a very creative type of player … he's very competitive," Senators general manager Bryan Murray said. "The thing that Kyle seems to have greatly improved upon is his strength. I think than in itself will make him a more productive player. He gave us a real solid center to complement Jason Spezza, and we like what he delivered. He gave us a chance -- pretty much every night -- to give us a real, creative second line.
"[He's] a young player who we thought made great progress as the year went on last year," Murray added. "We see him as a very solid, potentially better-than-second-line player going forward. We felt this was an opportunity for Kyle, as well as for ourselves to commit to a relationship that allows us to sign one of our core players for a period of time."
Only this time, the relationship appears strong. Turris no longer enters a training camp wondering if or where he'll fit in. Indeed, it was a trade that benefited all parties involved.
Center - OTT
GOALS: 12 | ASST: 17 | PTS: 29
SOG: 142 | +/-: 10
"It was really big … kind of a breath of fresh air and a fresh start," Turris said of the move to Canada's capital city. "I can't thank Ottawa enough for giving me that opportunity and trading for me. I really appreciate it and I'm very thankful to be a part of Ottawa's organization moving forward."
He's even more thankful to know he'll still have Alfredsson as a linemate. The Senators' captain announced last month he will return for a 17th season.
"He's such a great player, but he's so good in the dressing room and as a captain," Turris said of the 39-year-old wing. "He's a guy that we couldn't replace. He does so much for everybody -- picks up guys when you're down, he just knows what to do at the right times. On top of that, obviously, is his hockey ability on the ice.
"For me, playing with him, I'm extremely lucky I'm getting that opportunity to watch him and be able to learn from him every day at practice. It's very special."
Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL