Most Nashville Predators fans spent much of last season cursing the name Kyle Turris.
And deservedly so.
He recorded one of the worst seasons of his career, in which he scored a career-low in goals (7) and his second-lowest point total (55). However, since the end of last season, Turris is on a path to redemption and I think fans should be excited about what he can bring to this offense.
The addition of free agent Matt Duchene guaranteed that Turris would be relegated to the bottom six forwards. Many people, myself included, wondered if the 30 year old would get an opportunity to make a significant impact on the stacked offense.
Turris currently averages only 13:22 minutes of ice-time per game. Which is his lowest since the 2010-11 campaign. While some may look at this as a negative, I view it as a positive.
Reduced playing time means less of a spotlight. I believe as Turris struggled last season, the spotlight on him increased, which caused his struggles to continue. Now that most of the attention is on the top two lines, Turris is free to let the game come to him and not force scoring chances.
— NHL (@NHL) October 20, 2019
So far, Turris is giving the offense great depth-scoring. He plays every game on the third and fourth lines, except for Saturday when filled in on the second line, but is outscoring multiple players in the top six. He ranks sixth on the team in point total and is four goals away from tying last year’s goal total.
As the season progresses, I believe Turris can end up being one of Nashville’s most important players. All great NHL teams have scoring depth. In fact, a deep bench was a key factor in Nashville’s Stanley Cup final run three years ago. If the top two lines stay healthy and continue to produce, Turris offers a solid scoring option on the bottom two lines.
Unfortunately, injuries are inevitable in the NHL. If either of the top two centers go down, Turris is a good temporary replacement. He already showed he can play on the second line when he filled in for Filip Forsberg on Saturday.
It is no secret that, on paper, Nashville has one of the most talented offenses in the NHL. After eight games the line of Forsberg, Duchene, and Mikael Granlund is one of the best lines in the league. If Turris keeps producing on a consistent basis, he will be an above-average third line center. He can add a lot to the team late in the season and into the playoffs.
PHOTO CREDIT: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports