Kyle Turris has experience taking over for Jason Spezza as the Ottawa Senators' No. 1 center and he is confident he can do it again.
Center - OTT
GOALS: 26 | ASST: 32 | PTS: 58
SOG: 215 | +/-: 22
Turris will ascend the depth chart this season after Spezza was traded to the Dallas Stars
on July 1. Two seasons ago, Spezza was sidelined for almost all of the shortened schedule after back surgery.
"I definitely think I've learned a lot over the past two years from those experiences, from being put into that role when [Spezza] was hurt, and seeing how hard the matchup is," Turris told the Ottawa Sun on Friday. "I just tried to take that mentality and put it into the role I had this past year. … This upcoming year, if I'm put into that role again, I think the experience I have now will work in my favor, to know what to expect and how better to prepare for it.
"If I get that opportunity I'll be excited about the challenge, that's for sure."
Turris doubled his career high with 58 points last season. He had 26 goals and 32 assists and was plus-22 playing primarily with Clarke MacArthur and Bobby Ryan on Ottawa's second line.
The third pick in the 2007 NHL Draft by the Phoenix Coyotes, Turris turns 25 on Aug. 14.
"One thing I've learned over my career is nothing really surprises you," Turris told reporter Don Brennan. "It's such a business and so many different things can happen. It's tough. [Spezza] is a great friend, a real good person and obviously somebody that's extremely tough trying to replace."
Turris had 29 points (12 goals) in 48 games during the 2012-13 season, when Spezza missed all but five games. After trading their captain and prospect Ludwig Karlsson for wing Alex Chiasson, two prospects and a second-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, the Senators signed center David Legwand as a free agent, and have Mika Zibanejad and Zach Smith returning.
"I think we're going to have everybody in our lineup playing the same way, coming hard back and back checking extremely hard, to put pressure on their guys coming down and eliminating the odd-man rushes," Turris said. "And at the same time as coming hard back defensively, we're going to be exploding offensively at the turnovers and getting out of our zone as quick as we can."
Ottawa finished fifth in the Atlantic Division and was five points out of the second Eastern Conference wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"I think we've got a definite playoff team, and not just a playoff team, I feel we've got a group that can make a run in the playoffs," Turris said. "I definitely feel we have a real good team."