Edmonton Oilers beef up depth at centre signing Kyle Turris to a two-year deal

Edmonton Oilers beef up depth at centre signing Kyle Turris to a two-year deal

Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland checked a box on his to-do list when unrestricted free agency opened Friday by signing forward Kyle Turris.

The Oilers signed four other players to short-term contracts, but did not immediately land one of several big-name goalies on the market to fill a vacancy at that position.

Turris and the Oilers agreed to a two-year, US$3.3 million contract for an annual average of $1.65 million.

Holland sought a third-line centre to play behind captain Connor McDavid and this year’s Hart Trophy winner Leon Draisaitl. The GM believes Turris can be that player.

“We believe he can give us some secondary scoring in the bottom six,” Holland said Friday during a conference call. “He’s a veteran guy and he’s been in the league for a long time.

“A lot of goalies have gone off the board, so we’ll see what happens in the next period of time.”

After three seasons with the Nashville Predators, that team bought out the remaining four years of Turris’s contract at a price tag at $24 million.

The 31-year-old from New Westminster, B.C., had nine goals and 22 assists in 62 games for Nashville last season.

“I’m thankful for the opportunity they gave me, but just for whatever reason it didn’t workout,” Turris said during a conference call.

“It’s frustrating that it didn’t work out, but at the same time I’m just really excited for this new opportunity.

“A great team moving in the right direction with two of the best players in the world.”

The six-foot-one, 190-pound centre has compiled 165 goals and 251 assists in 726 career games with Nashville, Ottawa and Phoenix.

Edmonton ranked second in the Pacific Division at 37-25-9 when the NHL suspended the season because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Oilers didn’t make it out of the post-season’s qualifying round, falling in four games to the Chicago Blackhawks.

Turris was the third overall pick in the 2007 draft by the Phoenix Coyotes. Oilers head coach Dave Tippett coached Turris in Arizona during the 2010-11 season.

Goaltender Mike Smith, 38, became a free agent Friday after one season in Edmonton. Holland looks to beef up that position with a partner for Mikko Koskinen.

“At some point in time, I’ve got to add another goaltender and probably another defenceman,” Holland said.

Top defenceman Oscar Klefom is expected to miss all or part of next season with a shoulder injury.

The Oilers did sign a goaltender with 48 games of NHL experience to a one-year, one-way contract.

Anton Forsberg, 27, went 1-1 in three appearances with the Carolina Hurricanes last season. He’s a career 12-25-4 in the NHL with Columbus, Chicago and Carolina.

The Oilers also signed forwards Alan Quine and Tyler Ennis to one-year contracts and inked forward Seth Griffith to a two-year deal.

Edmonton acquired Ennis from the Ottawa at the February trade deadline and brought him back for $1 million.

The 31-year-old Edmontonian tallied six goals and 21 assists in 70 games with the Senators and Oilers.

Ennis scored twice and had two assists in nine games upon arrival in Edmonton. He broke his leg in Game 3 of the Chicago series.

Quine, 27, had a goal in nine games with the Calgary Flames last season, while also playing 38 games in the AHL.

Griffith, also 27, played 58 games with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose last season collecting 21 goals and 20 assists. He’s played 79 NHL games recording eight goals and 11 assists.

With files from Associated Press

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 9, 2020.

Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press

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