With 66 NHL games under his belt, Kyle Turris doesn't really qualify as an NHL prospect does he? But there he is, toiling away in the AHL with other prospects.
Expect Turris, the No. 4 prospect on Dobber's latest ranking of the top 215 Fantasy Hockey Prospects, to stay there for more seasoning because he needs it. The Phoenix Coyotes have realized they need to be more patient with their talented first-round draft pick from 2007. If you're a fantasy GM who owns Turris, you need to be patient, too. Don't get discouraged that he's been demoted to the AHL after playing almost a full season in the NHL last year as a 19-year-old.
If it strikes you as odd that Turris ended up in the NHL last year, and is in the AHL this year, it should — because that certainly wasn't the plan three years ago.
During his draft year, there was a lot of people who questioned his decision to play junior A instead of suiting up for the Memorial Cup host Vancouver Giants. In retrospect, junior A was the right place for him because he was a skinny kid, but got to play prime-time minutes for the Burnaby Express.
His plan was to go to college and stay for a few years while he gained strength and put on weight. But then, he went pro after his freshman season. It was was puzzling because he wasn't ready for the NHL and he gave up a chance to play for the Memorial Cup hosts to play just one year of college hockey.
Turris is the real deal, but playing in the AHL this year will help in the long run, because he's going to excel at what he does best and that's score. He has 18 points in 25 games, including five in his last six, which sits him fourth on San Antonio. But that’s second behind Kevin Porter in terms of players who have a future in the NHL.
When he gets back to the NHL, which will be in 2011-12 barring a huge camp next fall, expect Turris to produce. Despite his slight frame, Turris is a gritty player. Turris's dad, Bruce is a member of the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame. As a kid, Kyle played lacrosse and was a football quarterback.
Rick Lanz, a former NHLer with the Canucks and Maple Leafs, was Turris's coach with Burnaby. Lanz said Turris has the ability to elevate his game in clutch situations and will fight through adversity.
"The kid has got some serious strong determined will to succeed," Lanz said before Turris was drafted.
That, more than his elite skills and hockey sense, is what sets him apart from many other prospects.