The Nashville Predators made the first big splash of the 2017-18 season by trading for Kyle Turris. It was the right move.
Early in the 2017-2018 NHL season, the Nashville Predators were part of a blockbuster trade that ended with the team acquiring center Kyle Turris from the Ottawa Senators. David Poile knew after last year’s Stanley Cup run that depth at center was key to continued success. Turris chipped in right away bolstering the Predators’ second line.
After a hot start in new scenery, Kyle Turris cooled off mid-season. He did hit a lot of high notes in his first season in Music City, though. His acquisition balanced out the lineup, and his play seemed to ignite linemates Craig Smith and Kevin Fiala. While expectations for Turris weren’t extraordinary, he certainly met them this year.
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On November 11, 2017, Kyle Turris made his debut in gold with the Nashville Predators, and boy was it a night. Two minutes into the second period, Turris scored the Predators’ first goal of the game to tie it up with the Penguins. He later added an assist and finished second to Craig Smith in ice time for the forwards. The Predators beat the Stanley Cup champions in a shootout, and no doubt Kyle Turris provided a spark that night.
Kyle found the scoresheet again in the very next game against the Capitals. He capped off the month of November with 7 points in 10 games with the Predators. Not bad for the new guy. But the hot start continued. He began December with a 7-game point streak, tallying two goals and 10 points.
Also, in the first 30 days since the Nashville Predators acquired Kyle Turris, he was second on the team in points behind none other than Filip Forsberg. The change in scenery certainly benefited Turris, and it appeared David Poile struck gold once again.
All good things come to an end, though. For the months of January and February, Kyle Turris only managed 8 points. He broke out of the slump and ended the year well amassing 42 points in 65 games with the Predators.
Balanced the Lineup
The trade for Turris did more than meets the eye for the Nashville Predators. With him sliding into the 2nd line center position, the 3rd and 4th lines adjusted, and it seemed to benefit the team overall. Austin Watson and Colton Sissons flourished together on the 4th line. The 3rd line of Bonino, Jarnkrok, and Hartnell also seemed to click.
Turris spent most of his time on ice centering Craig Smith and Kevin Fiala. His presence on that line proved to be very valuable.
2nd Line Fire
You could easily view the Predators’ top two lines as 1A and 1B. Thanks to the presence of Kyle Turris, the point production from Smith and Fiala dramatically increased from the previous year. With each players point total ranging from 40-50, had their time on ice compared to the top line, they could have easily matched the JoFA line production.
Speaking only of Turris, though, his stats are right where you’d expect them to be. In the 65 games, he totaled 42 points. Nothing to be ashamed of there. He matched a career high with 17 of those points coming on the power play. His Corsi percentage with the Predators was also a career high at 59%.
Based on this season alone, the trade for Kyle Turris seemed to pay off. David Poile immediately signed him long term, which speaks volumes. Aside from a mid-season slump, Turris showed us what he can do. His play lit a fire under his linemates Smith and Fiala, and a trickle-down effect also benefited the 3rd and 4th lines. Technically speaking, it wasn’t a full season with the Predators, but it’s a great first impression. Overall grade: A