One of the growing debates leading up to the regular season for the Nashville Predators is where to put Kyle Turris in the lineup. He belongs on the fourth line.
There’s been no shortage of burning topics for the Nashville Predators this offseason, and what to do with Kyle Turris is one of the major ones. He’s entering his third season with the Predators and is looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2018-19 season. A meager 23 points in 55 games is a shell of his former self.
I never had the confidence or bought into the notion that Turris would be traded. His contract is too expensive and his stock is sinking. A bad combination to find a trade partner. Now the Predators have to find a spot for him, and hope he returns to the form he was in during his first season in Nashville with 42 points in 65 games. He played a bigger role on the second line that season as well, not just in the form of points.
The idea of moving Turris to a winger position is now coming up. The Predators have great center depth after acquiring Matt Duchene in free agency, and still having Ryan Johansen on the top line. Add Nick Bonino and Colton Sissons to that mix and you have a solid group of centers. That leaves it challenging to decide where Turris fits in the lineup.
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Where Turris should start the season
Turris has to work his way up back up the lineup. Best case scenario is he finds his groove again and gives the Predators even more depth. I believe he has to do that initially from the fourth line.
I know moving him to a wing position is popular, but I want to keep him at center, preferably on the fourth line alongside Rocco Grimaldi and another player to be figured out.
I refuse to believe that Turris has suddenly forgotten how to be an effective NHL center. The guy hasn’t racked up 229 assists on the NHL level in 11 years of experience by accident. He can find that solid production again.
Him starting the regular season on the fourth line isn’t giving up on him or burying him on the roster. It’s where he can be most effective and help the team the most. His veteran experience and less pressure facing him could do wonders for his confidence to bounce back. It could also do wonders for elevating Grimaldi’s production as he grows more into an everyday NHL player.
This scenario would mean Sissons or Bonino having to take a winger position on the third line. I like Sissons starting as a third-line winger and keeping Bonino at center. If Turris is showing massive improvement and getting his confidence back, then you could absolutely make the necessary moves to get him above the fourth line.
Keeping Turris at his natural position
The thought of moving Turris to a winger position has me cautious. He’s already trying to bounce back from a bad season and knows he was probably on the trading block. Experimenting with him on the third line at winger could be a failed experiment that further buries his confidence. I’d much rather keep him at center and see if he can find his role on the fourth line to begin the regular season.
Sissons is more viable to switch from center to being on the wing. He’s already proven he can be a versatile player that does numerous things well. Unlike Turris, Sissons’ stock is steadily rising. Iove the idea of Sissons, Bonino and Craig Smith on the third line. You have three guys capable of putting up 20-plus goals, as well as solid in other areas outside of just scoring goals.
Obviously, this is all going to be a fluid situation out of the gate. A lot of experimenting will be going on from head coach Peter Laviolette to find the right formula. This is just my initial formula to see if it works. Ask me a month into the season and I might throw my idea in the toilet never to be seen again. As for now, I like Turris building up the fourth line and working his way back up the lineup while the top three lines remain very strong.