RFA negotiations have been a bit of a big deal this summer, moreso than usual at least. Because RFA’s have limited leverage and a single team holds rights to negotiate with the player, deals are usually all but inevitable if both parties are even passingly interested in getting a contract done.
This year saw a number of high profile kids become RFA and while most have been resolved, some of the discussions have become contentious as training camp nears. Perhaps the most surprising lingering negotation is that of Kyle Turris with Don Maloney in Phoenix. It’s surprising not only because Turris is completely unproven at the NHL, but also because the youngster has reportedly demanded a salary between $3-4 million per year.
The second contract has become an expensive one in the post-lock-out NHL. The capped entry level deal as well as the recent shift to "paying for potential" has caused an inflation in the RFA salaries for many high profile kids – particularly those who greatly outperform their initial contract.
That, however, is not the case with Kyle Turris. The former third overall pick has been different flavors of underwhelming since the Coyotes organization picked him in 2007. He wasn’t a point-per-game player in college nor in the AHL. He’s appeared in just 131 NHL games and garned a mere 19-goals and 46-points. He has also spent almost all of those games playing some of the most sheltered minutes in the entire league, let alone on his own team. Despite those circumstance, last season was the first time he managed to be above water possession-wise. Even then, he played some of the weakest competition on the club and started out in the offensive zone 66.1% (!) of the time.
In short, Turris has accomplished nothing at the NHL level yet.
His demand for top-six type money is therefore one of two things:
1.) A thinly veiled strategy to get traded out of the organization. Nice climate aside, playing for the Coyotes franchise this days is probably not at the top of an NHLers list.
2.) Unicorn on a rainbow level of delusion.
If it’s the former, then Turris might be available for a minimal return. As detailed above, he has thus far been a pretty limited pro player, but his draft pedigree is good and there’s evidence of some progression in his game. For a nominal price Turris might be worth adding.
If it’s the latter then the kid is of no use to anyone in the league, Calgary included. He’s a long ways away from being a $3-4M forward and there’s certainly no guarantee he would ever get there.
The risk, of course, is that it’s impossible to know which option it is with Turris (without tampering of course *cough* Erixon *cough*), meaning if a club acquires his assuming #1 above and it is instead #2, then they have merely taken Don Maloney’s problem off his hands.
The reward for such a risk would be a youngish forward with upside added for marginal cost.
The Flames organization has a need for players of that type, but I’d be wary of dealing for Turris for the reasons stated. Without any further information (a wink and nudge from his agent, for instance), I’d be hard-pressed to trade for him at this point. Even if the Coyotes chose to take a problematic contract (say, Matt Stajan) in return.