On Sunday afternoon, it’s was resurrected.
Nashville acquired center Kyle Turris, Ottawa acquired Matt Duchene and Colorado came out of the deal with a king’s ransom, including blue chip defensive prospect Samuel Girard, Milwaukee Admirals center Vladislav Kamenev and a second round pick from the Preds as well as 2017 first round pick Shane Bowers, goaltender Andrew Hammond, a first round pick and a third round pick from the Senators.
Upon being traded to Nashville, Turris, a pending unrestricted free agent next summer, signed a six-year, $36 million extension, keeping him in a Preds sweater through the 2023-24 season. This was a necessary factor in completing the trade from General Manager David Poile’s perspective. Why give up Girard, Kamenev and a second round draft choice for a guy who would only be in the lineup for eight months?
“This deal would not have happened if we were not able to sign Kyle Turris to a six-year contract,” Poile said on Monday. “When you couple that with the signings we’ve had with the majority of our core forwards the last two seasons — Ryan Johansen, Viktor Arvidsson, Calle Jarnkrok, Filip Forsberg, Nick Bonino — the majority of our core forwards are under contract for at least the next three seasons and a few of them beyond that.”
Why would a player, who’s never donned the team’s sweater, sign a long-term extension with a club?
“My wife and I had talked about about places that were possibilities and we were real excited about the idea of Nashville,” Turris said via conference call. “I obviously watched the Final last year and the excitement in the city of Nashville and how good the team is. I’m just very excited for this opportunity to come in, help out and be apart of something great here.”
According to Cap Friendly, there are no clauses or signing bonuses either.
— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) November 6, 2017
While Turris, 28, is a year and a half older than Duchene, they’ve essentially put up the same numbers during their careers. Take the sample size of the past five and a half seasons. Since the lockout in 2012-13, Turris has tallied 244 points compared to Duchene’s 276. Additionally, Turris has potted 105 goals in that span while Duchene has scored 112. Finally, both players have seen roughly the same amount of action as Turris has played in 358 of a possible 390 games during that span and Duchene has appeared in 367 (also of a possible 390).
Just last season, the New Westminster, British Columbia native had a career year in the goals category with 27. He added 28 assists for 55 points in 2016-17 and then went on to tally 10 points in Ottawa’s run to the Eastern Conference Final. History suggests he’s good for 55 points or more (when he plays more than 70 games), which would’ve made him the fourth best scorer on the Preds last season.
Long term, the addition of Turris makes the subtraction of Kamenev negligible. The loss of Girard stings, however. The 2016 second round pick out of the QMJHL’s Shawinigan Cataractes was considered the best defensive prospect in Nashville’s system. He played in five NHL games for the team that drafted him, tallying his first career goal and collecting two assists for three total points before the transaction. Other than stats, experts agreed that he appeared as if he belonged on the NHL stage, not looking out of place at all. So much so that some called him the fifth best blueliner on a Preds squad that features Roman Josi, PK Subban, Ryan Ellis (injured) and Mattias Ekholm.
“We’ve traded for a player with an established track record and we gave up potential,” Poile said.
But, at the end of the day, teams must give up something of value to get something of value and that’s what Poile did here. As Robby Stanley of NHL.com pointed out, they can’t all “be Forsberg for Erat and Latta.”
“The honest answer is ‘yes’ and ‘no,'” Poile said about whether they were showcasing Girard by keeping him up in the NHL as opposed to sending him back to junior. “Because of the Ryan Ellis injury, that created the opportunity. Obviously that was a tough player to give up but you got to give up something and that was the pain we had to endure to make the deal.”
Also, are the Predators a better team now than they were yesterday thanks to this trade? Yes. A big weakness exposed during the Stanley Cup Final run last season was their lack of depth at center. While Colton Sissons stepped up and played extremely well when the team needed him to, that level of production can’t be expected for an entire season, let alone every single playoff run. Therefore, center depth with Ryan Johansen, Turris, and some combination of Sissons, Nick Bonino and Calle Jarnkrok for the third and fourth lines looks daunting.
“We are now as skilled and as deep at the center position as we ever have been,” Poile said. “We can balance our offense across multiple lines and we can give the coaches the flexibility to move players up and down the lineup based on chemistry and match-ups. I don’t think we’ve ever had this kind of depth and this kind of flexibility or versatility in our history.”
More than what they gave is actually what they didn’t give up.
Poile made a point to state he didn’t want to touch his top four defensemen. He did this several times, including on the draft floor this past June. The fact he was still able to address a need and stick to his guns is not only encouraging for Nashville’s Stanley Cup window but also sends a message to the GM’s around the NHL that, when he draws a line in the sand, that line is legit and not just a negotiating tactic.
“I thought it was really really important that we didn’t give up one of our top four defensemen,” Poile said. “Or our first round pick, for that matter. Our top four defensemen were all mentioned. Our first round pick was mentioned. The bottom line is that we didn’t give those up. It allows us to be in a better position going forward. For example, if I needed to make another trade, we still have our first round pick.”
Foreshadowing from Mr. Poile there? Put a pin in that, as they say.
According to Senators GM Pierre Dorion, the Preds have been talking to them about Turris “since September.” According to Poile, the interest in Turris goes back a bit further.
“We didn’t talk to them [at the time] but he was on my radar starting July 1,” Nashville General Manager David Poile said on Monday. “Meaning, we review all the free agents and we start processing our list for the next year. So he was on our radar at that time but we didn’t talk specifically on Turris until, I’m guessing, sometime during training camp.”
Turris’ first game in a Preds sweater looks to be Saturday night at home against the Pittsburgh Penguins. He will wear #8.
“There were so many different parts to this deal, as you can imagine,” Poile said. “It’s hard enough making a deal with just two teams but, when you add a third team, it gets complicated.”
The lesson? Never doubt the wizard that is David Poile.