Player Spotlight: Kyle Turris
(Editor's note: As the 2012-13 season draws closer, ottawasenators.com will take a daily snapshot look at some of the returning players from last year, with both a look back and a look ahead).
2011-12 stats (with Ottawa): 49 GP, 12 G, 17 A, 29 PTS, 27 PIM, +12 rating
Last season: With the Senators searching to fill a need on their second line, general manager Bryan Murray pulled the trigger on a Dec. 17 deal that brought Turris to Ottawa in exchange for defenceman David Rundblad and a second-round draft pick. He proved to be just the right fit for head coach Paul MacLean, who gave the young centre a prominent role among his top six forwards from the get-go and kept them there all season. The native of New Westminster, B.C., established career highs in goal, assists and points in just 49 games in Ottawa, showing the kind of offensive ability that made Turris the No. 3 overall pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.
The highlight: In a lot of fans' eyes, Turris provided one of the highlights of the season during the Stanley Cup playoffs against the New York Rangers. After the Senators rallied from a two-goal deficit to force overtime in Game 4, Turris took a drop pass from Jim O'Brien and snapped a quick wrist shot from the left faceoff circle over Blueshirts goaltender Henrik Lundqvist's glove at the 2:42 mark of the extra period to give Ottawa a series-tying 3-2 win.
Looking forward: How excited is Turris about his future in the nation's capital? The definitive answer came last week, when he inked a five-year extension with the Senators that will keep him with the team through the 2017-18 season. At 23 years old, he's just beginning to scratch the surface of his potential and believes he can someday mature into a 30-goal scorer. The Senators, meanwhile, feel he solidifies their second-line centre spot for the moment, with Murray suggesting Turris could mature into a first-liner down the road.
Quote: “To be able to play that role for the whole season after I got here ... it's amazing what it does for your confidence and for your self-esteem. Ultimately, it makes you a better hockey player, knowing that people have confidence in you and they're allowing you to play the way you can play because they believe in you. I can't thank coach MacLean enough and the guys on the team enough for giving me that opportunity.”