Numbers Game: Senators get Turris for Rundblad, pick

Scott Cullen

12/18/2011 2:43:43 AM

Unhappy in Phoenix, Kyle Turris got his wish and was moved out of the desert.

Numbers Game looks at the Ottawa Senators' acquisition of the young pivot.

The Senators Get: C Kyle Turris.

Turris, 22, was a lock to moved out of Phoenix after a contract impasse left him unsigned until November 22, missing out on training camp and the first couple months of the season.

It's not as though Turris has increased his value any since getting into the lineup this season, going scoreless with a minus-2 rating in six games, but there is at least some offensive ability waiting for an opportunity to be unleashed.

Last season, Turris scored 11 goals and 25 points in 65 games for the Coyotes -- modest totals, to be sure, but career-highs nonetheless -- and he did so in 11:16 of ice time per game. With some simple adjusting of those numbers into a regular second-line role, in which he might be expected to play 16-17 minutes per game, Turris could produce enough to fit the bill as a scoring centre.

With 50% more ice time, and assuming his production-per-minute stays the same (even if strength of competition increases), Turris' numbers would climb to 16 goals and 37 points. If he happened to play close to a full season, that would result in an additional increase of 25% (over the 65 games that he played in in 2010-2011), lifting Turris' totals to 20 goals and 46 points.

In addition to these possibly optimistic forecasts, one must consider that Turris is but 22-years-old and still trying to recover from a poor developmental plan after being drafted third overall in 2007, so it's not unreasonable to expect further improvement as he matures.

After one season at the University of Wisconsin, during which he produced (a good, not great) 35 points in 36 games Turris was rushed to the NHL, even though he was not physically ready for the challenge, prompting a subsequent demotion to the AHL in 2009-2010. Scoring 63 points in 76 games in the AHL as a 20-year-old indicates that Turris has the requisite offensive skills to be a scoring centre in the NHL, but it's possible that he just isn't a good fit for a grind-it-out team like Phoenix.

Certainly his slow start to this season isn't promising, but Turris is under contract through next season at a cap hit of $1.4-million per season and will be a restricted free agent when his contract expires. At that point, the Senators should have a good idea in which direction Turris' career is heading.

The Senators do seem to be a good fit for Turris, at least from the perspective that they have a definite need to a No. 2 centre behind Jason Spezza. Stephane Da Costa and Mika Zibanejad auditioned in the role early in the season and, more recently, Nick Foligno had moved into that spot and played well, but Turris has a good opportunity to fill a hole in the Ottawa lineup.

The Coyotes Get: D David Rundblad and a second-round pick.

Rundblad, a 21-year-old rookie defenceman, came into the season with high expectations after scoring 50 points in 55 games for Skelleftea in the Swedish Elite League in 2010-2011, but hasn't been particularly effective thus far with the Senators.

In 24 games with Ottawa, Rundblad had four points and a minus-11 rating, while playing just 15:14 per game. He had the best shot differential per 60 minutes of anyone on the team (+8.4), but was very protected in his usage, with more offensive zone starts than any other Senators defenceman while facing relatively low quality of competition.

Like Turris, however, Rundblad has youth on his side, so has time to grow into a role with the Coyotes. In the short-term, there isn't necessarily a significant role awaiting Rundblad right away in Phoenix (aside from any opportunity presented by Rostislav Klesla's injury), unless Rundblad gets pushed ahead of veterans Michal Rozsival and Derek Morris. That will happen in due time and Rundblad figures to eventually move into a secondary power play role behind Keith Yandle and Oliver Ekman-Larsson on the Coyotes depth chart.

Rundblad comes at a cap hit of $1.5-million through next season, when he too will be a restricted free agent, albeit one with less service time than Turris.

The second-round pick does appear to be a significant sweetener to the deal. There's a 25-30% chance that a second-round pick turns into an NHL player and given the relative merits of Turris and Rundblad to this point in their careers, that's likely enough to tip the scales in favour of the Coyotes when it comes to value acquired in the deal.

It's fair to say that Turris and Rundblad haven't yet met expectations, but both are early in their careers and have opportunities with their new teams to develop into productive performers. In an ideal world, the Senators will have a second-line centre and the Coyotes will have a top-four puck-moving defenceman that is capable of quarterbacking the power play.

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