I bet that when Ottawa Senators GM Bryan Murray goes to sleep at night, he goes with a big smile on his face.
And really, why shouldn’t he? The young Senators were projected by most to be Eastern cellar-dwellers this season, but have been playing inspired hockey and currently sit only two points behind the conference-leading New York Rangers.
Murray deserves a lot of credit for the Sens’ surge this year, for slick moves such as the trade and subsequent signing of workhorse goalie Craig Anderson, as well as the hiring of rookie bench boss Paul MacLean. But its his most recent one, the trade acquisition of Kyle Turris, for which Murray deserves the most proverbial pats on the back.
Turris, the former 3rd overall pick from the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, has been on fire ever since coming over from the Phoenix Coyotes. With 13 points and a+13 rating in 16 games with the Sens, he’s one of the main reasons why the team is experiencing so much success recently.
The trade was an absolute no-brainer for Murray at the time it was made. The Sens have been suffering from a lack of a skilled second line ever since the lockout (probably costing them the 2007 Stanley Cup), but the team finally has another threat offensively to lighten the defensive pressure that is most often placed on Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson.
Despite being only 22, many were already wondering if Turris would amount to a bust, despite his high skill set. Apparently all Turris needed to turn his game around was to get out of the neverending sandtrap of uncertainty that is the Phoenix Coyotes and the stifling defensive systems of their head coach Dave Tippett, and into a more hockey-friendly market with a coach, Paul MacLean, that allows his young forwards more freewheeling room. David Runblad, the player traded to the Coyotes, has a bright NHL future, but given Turris’ play and the wealth of young defenders that Ottawa possesses, this trade is looking like a decisive win for Ottawa.
Granted, 16 games is nowhere near a long enough trial to fully pass judgement, but watching Turris play it’s hard to not get excited about his future. If he can continue this pace and fully develop into the player that his junior numbers and draft position suggested he could be, it will certainly give Murray a lot more to smile about.