Things are not going well for the Nashville Predators and forward Kyle Turris.
Granted, the Predators did defeat the St. Louis Blues Monday by a final score of 3-2 in the shootout. That improved Nashville to 11-9-3 on the season, good for fifth in the Central Division. They knocked off a hot team in the Blues and you can’t take that away from them.
But there is the not-so-small matter of Kyle Turris to discuss.
The 30-year-old was not in the lineup Monday. That’s four healthy scratches in a row. He hasn’t played since November 12 against Chicago, when he produced an assist but skated for just under 11 minutes.
Turris has seen his ice time sharply decline this season and now it’s down to nothing, as he’s been riding the pine with a sort of insufferable reliability.
So, what’s going on?
It’s no secret that Turris has been disappointing for the Predators’ organization. Head coach Peter Laviolette does not seem to be a fan. Nashville was reportedly shopping the centre during the summer, but nothing stuck and a deal was impossible. Blame the contract for that.
Turris came to Nashville by way of a three-way trade that sent Matt Duchene to the Ottawa Senators through the Colorado Avalanche. He lit the lamp well enough, putting together an impressive first run with Nashville that amounted to 42 points in 65 games. But in the playoffs, he failed to deliver.
In 2018-2019, Turris only accounted for 23 points in 55 games – a major step in the wrong direction. The Predators responded by getting their man, inking Duchene to a seven-year deal in July of 2019.
That left Turris, once thought to be the second-line saviour, on the outside looking in. And that’s exactly where we find him today. The Predators can’t definitely unload his six-year contract, which pays out $6 million a year, and they’re stuck with a tumbling player.
There are reasons for Turris’ deterioration, of course. You could point to the power play from 2018-2019 as emblematic of his diminishing returns and you could argue he’ll bounce back if he receives a “change of scenery” trade.
But right now, the situation is ugly and there are no signs of abating. Laviolette, even with Viktor Arvidsson on the shelf for a while, isn’t interested in sticking Turris in the lineup. That leaves things at an impasse unless general manager David Poile can find himself a dance partner (ie. Calgary) to take a shot.
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