Friday, December 16, 2011

DBJ's take on the Turris rumors

[CAUTIONARY NOTE: If you don't like reading about trade rumors and wild speculation, stop right here...because that's all this post is.  Consider yourself forewarned.]

Rumors are swirling that the Phoenix Coyotes are taking offers to trade centerman Kyle Turris.  Turris, as you might recall, held out of the 'yotes camp from the start of preseason through November 22, 2011, when he signed a two-year contract with an annual cap hit of $1.4 million.  (He wanted $3-4 million per year.)

Phoenix's Kyle Turris, third overall draft pick in 2007,
is rumored to be on the trading block.
The highly touted Turris, drafted 3rd overall by Phoenix in the 2007 NHL entry draft out of the University of Wisconsin, was part of the youth movement that doomed the coaching career of Wayne Gretzky.  He put up 20 points in 63 games in 2008-09, then was shipped with other "young core" players back to the AHL for the entirety of the 2009-10 season when coach Dave Tippett and GM Don Maloney chose to go with inexpensive veterans (something I personally thought was wise and continue to think would be a prudent course of action in Columbus).  He returned to the Coyotes roster in 2010-11, playing 65 games and notching 25 points.  He has no points thus far in the six games played for the Coyotes in the 2011-12 campaign.

I think it's safe to say that while Turris clearly has promise based on his pedigree and performance at the sub-NHL level, he's underperformed in The Show.  The extended holdout and huge difference in the team and his agent's perception of his worth suggests tension that make an eventual trade reasonably likely.  (Curiously, I note that someone on Twitter called him a "Canadian Nikita Filatov" - perhaps that offers a frame of reference with regard to the toxic Turris/Phoenix dynamic.)  A "change of scenery" trade makes a lot of sense.

Then there are rumors that the Blue Jackets are in the running for Turris coming from both rumor merchants and journalists alike.  CBJ GM Scott Howson is giving a "No comment" response to questions about the young center.

Derick Brassard (left) has been rumored to be on the trade block.
Might his destination be the Valley of the Sun?
So are the Blue Jackets in or out on Turris?  Who knows, but what's that to stop us from speculating?

Scuttlebutt suggests that if the Blue Jackets aren't aggressively shopping Derick Brassard and his $3.2 million cap hit right now, they'd be willing to entertain offers.  My "outhouse to the penthouse" thought from last night illustrated the possibility that Brassard may have been given his 15 minutes of ice time last night in part to give the ten teams' scouts in attendance something to chew on.  Yet Phoenix didn't have a scout in attendance.

I don't have anywhere near enough information to have a fully-formed take but would like to suggest a few considerations that could very possibly be in play.  You know, grinding the sausage of conversation and all.

1. The 'yotes may have enough of a book on Brassard (or whomever else they might be coveting) that they didn't need to have anyone in the arena four days before the holiday trade freeze.

2. The Phoenix Coyotes are owned by the National Hockey League right now.  While their payroll is only $54 million, the league is keeping them as a "budget team" until they have a new owner.  Thus, a Brassard-for-Turris trade, straight up, seems unlikely unless Maloney can convince his overlords in Toronto and New York that taking on $1.8 million in new salary is a good idea.  Seeing that the league is already soaking the City of Glendale for $25 million to cover losses, I think it highly improbable.

Turris clearly has potential, but he is yet to break out in the NHL.
3. As a straight up trade isn't likely, think package deal.  A combination of either Brassard/Mackenzie or Brassard/Nikitin would be $3.8 million (and both Mackenzie and Nikitin have contracts expiring at the end of the season).  Turris and defenseman Adrian Aucoin, who has a $2 million cap hit on a contract that expires at the end of this season, get to $3.4 million.  I would think that is much more sellable to the NHL bean-counters.  There are other combinations - defensemen Derek Morris (who has a limited no-trade clause) and David Schlemko pop out as possibilities.  And that doesn't even take into consideration prospects on either side.  I tend to doubt that draft picks would enter the picture because Maloney's financial picture is so constricted.

4. Earlier in the day, the Blue Jackets were not being mentioned as a contender for Turris.  Later on, the team was considered a serious contender.

4a. Is it a function of the rumor guys and hockey writers not paying attention to the goings on in Columbus?  Possibly.  (Wouldn't be the first time.)

4b. Might it be a result of new Howson advisor Craig Patrick (fresh off a weekend surveying the talent pool in Springfield and having witnessed his first CBJ game live as part of the Blue Jackets payroll last night - a game that would give any brand new personnel expert night sweats) having a quick and serious heart to heart with Howson, resulting the CBJ making a late play for Turris? Possibly.

5. There's always the possibility that Maloney is blowing smoke to try to gin up a bidding war for a non-contributing Turris.  This could be the case even if Maloney didn't have a single offer...just a means to get something started.  

At the end of the day, who knows if Turris will get traded.  Who knows if the Blue Jackets are really in on a potential deal.  Who knows if Derick Brassard is on the block.  Who knows if Craig Patrick is already having as significant of an impact on Howson's decision-making as I'm suggesting.  Your guess is as good as mine.  

When your season has taken a turn that resulted in a second bag skate high-energy skate just this morning, however, perhaps the wild speculation might just be more fun.  


  1. Nikitin should be re-signed, not traded. Brassard should be traded for a defenseman or a winger, not another center.

  2. Just what we need another prima donna who thinks hes worth a lot more than he is and at a position we don't need. In other words the perfect person for Howsen

  3. Does it matter? If Howson makes a trade, regardless of whom he obtains, Arniel will only misuse him.


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