by Corey Pronman
The Senators extended Kyle Turris for five years at an average annual value of 3.5 million. While that may seem like a long deal for a player whose proven very little coming into this past season and only had a 6.4 GVT mark in 2011-12, this is a good risk for the Senators that could potentially have major value. With the current unrestricted free agent market per Gabe Desjardins, a win (or roughly six GVT) is equal to about three million. Seeing as this deal eats up two UFA years in a five year term I think a reasonable argument would be to evaluate it close to UFA market value. I also see it as very likely he will be a 1 win player or better for the duration of the contract which is what he’s being paid to be with that average annual value.
Back last December at the time of the trade, I mentioned that Turris seemed to have no legit reason he has not broken through. He has the top-end skill, he put in the work on and off the ice and the only real issue seemed to be between him and Phoenix. While with Ottawa, his Corsi Rel QoC rank with the team jumped from last with Phoenix in 2010-11, to first with Ottawa. His offensive zone start % team rank from went from 1st with Phoenix, to 10th with Ottawa. His ESTOI/60 also went from 10th to 3rd. Ottawa saw the talent, dealt an elite prospect in David Rundblad to get that talent, and let Turris flourish. Not only did he see tough minutes, but he performed under them, having a 4.3 Corsi Relative to his team.
Turris was arguably worth about that 3.5 million to the Senators this year, and that was with a cut off season due to the debacle in Phoenix. Over 82 games based on his performance in Ottawa, his raw totals come out to 20 goals and 48 points. There’s certainly risk from Ottawa’s standpoint, Turris was 22 this season which is young, but you still have some level of expectation from a player at that age and the fact it’s taken him this long to get going puts some doubt if he can ever hit his true upside. Even if he doesn’t his skating, skill and hockey sense have all the making of a consistent, quality top six player with the upside to get a tick or two higher.
In summary, I think it’s a near lock he hits even value on his contract, a good chance he provides surplus value, and slight to moderate chance this is a homerun for Ottawa. Five year deals for someone with 75 points in 185 NHL games are usually not a good investment, but for someone of Turris’ age and talent level, I’d completely endorse it as a very smart risk.
Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle extensions:
The Oilers signed two of their top young players, Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle to multi-year extensions with average annual values on both contracts coming out to six million, with Taylor Hall’s deal going for an extra year.
Taylor Hall is going to be a star in this league and there’s an argument he already is. Although his offensive zone start % was 56.5, Hall was 1 of 3 Edmonton forward with a positive Corsi and did so while facing top competition. His Corsi Relative of 15.2 was nearly double the next best forward on Edmonton. He’s got all the tools to be confident in his future too, he’s a tremendous skater and shooter with high-end skill, hockey sense and a great work ethic. If Hall gets a little more luck with health, and Edmonton approaches being an NHL average team offensively or better, he could hit or surpass the 80 point mark. Stars are underpaid in the NHL and with how Taylor Hall is performing at 20 years of age and what he’s tracking to be, it’s quite possible six million a season over his age 22-28 seasons could be a significant underpay.
The Jordan Eberle extension is one that requires more of a debate. Eberle has been Edmonton’s leading scorer the last two seasons and had a 76 point season to his name before his 22nd birthday. The percentages he’s been riding is concerning though, he had an 18.9 shooting % last season, and a career 15.4 mark. He also had a team on-ice shooting percentage of 12.84% at even-strength this past season. It’s very rare for players not named Steven Stamkos to maintain that kind of shooting percentage and non-elite playmakers to have that kind of on-ice mark. Andrew Brunette and Alex Tanguay have shot that well but as low volume shooter throughout their careers.
Anyone I’ve ever asked that has scouted Eberle have raved about his shot and finishing ability. Given the significant amount of scouting information I have that points to him being a high-end shooter, and the fact he does have a career 15.4 % finishing mark through 338 shots, I think it’s reasonable to assume Eberle is a very good finisher. However even very good finishers tend not to shoot at that kind of rate, and while I think Eberle’s shooting % will regress, I don’t think his true talent shooting percentage is 10% or under, but historically most of the best shooters tend to finish a few points below Eberle’s career mark.
Eberle’s production last season has been aided by some luck (the high percentages), a 60.7 offensive zone start % and average competition faced. But the thing with him is, he was 21 last season. It’s very plausible as enters into his prime he’ll get more ice time, he will be able to log tougher minutes zone starts and competition wise and still maintain a positive possession flow while finishing at an above average rate. I think there’s significant evidence that Eberle most likely won’t be a star, but a player with his elite hockey sense, great puck skills and shot still has enough tools to be a consistent first line forward. I think the average annual value of six million he was given could be a slight overpay for that kind of player as a UFA, and certainly for an RFA, but I could see the argument he hits even value for 1 or 2 seasons in the six year extension.
I was able to catch a game of Oilers 2012 draft pick defenseman Erik Gustafsson in a recent European Trophy game. I did not comment on him at the draft or in Edmonton’s organizational write-up due to lack of notes. Mind you it was only one match, but from what one can gather from a singular game, I understand why Edmonton used a fourth round pick on him. Gustafsson, who was in his third draft eligible season, certainly has a fair amount of skill and mobility. Several times he showed the ability to be an effective puck carrier who can make impressive plays and be a starting point for offense. He’s a little undersized which won’t help him, but considering that I thought he defended at an ok level as his reads were fine.
Top Canucks prospect Nicklas Jensen was officially loaned out to AIK in Sweden. This is a move I completely endorse and wish more prospects would do in their 19 year old seasons if the options for them are simply CHL or NHL. Jensen will learn a lot more from a development stand-point in a pro league as opposed to a league where he produced a point per game last season. Top Bruins prospect Alex Khokhlachev also did a one year loan to Russia where he’ll receive similar benefits.