NEW YORK — Kyle Turris is on the Senators’ radar screen.
But don’t count on the Coyotes restricted free-agent centre wearing an Ottawa uniform anytime soon unless Phoenix GM Don Maloney makes a seismic shift in his stance on trading the 22-year-old Turris before the Dec. 1 deadline to sign him.
While reports Thursday confirmed Turris has indeed asked the Coyotes for a trade, it’s believed the Senators are one of six or seven teams — including Calgary and Vancouver — who have expressed an interest in Turris, but have been told he’s not going anywhere.
The Senators are trying to fill the void at centre behind No. 1 pivot Jason Spezza with Peter Regin out 6-8 weeks.
The Senators’ interest may wane, of course, if rookie Stephane Da Costa can step into the role as the second-line centre.
The indications are GM Bryan Murray has investigated the possibility of acquiring Turris because the New Westminster, B.C., native fits the mould of the Senators’ rebuilding process.
Not only is he a highly skilled young player with plenty of upside, Turris is expected to lower his demand of $4 million a season he’s made to the Coyotes if his rights are dealt, which is what this fight has been about in the first place.
So, is Turris a good fit as a second-line centre?
“Very much so,” Rogers Sportsnet analyst and former Columbus GM Doug MacLean said on Friday. “In fairness to Turris, they brought him out of college early, they put him in the minors, they brought him up and put him in the minors.
“The kid bounced back and forth. (Maloney) has admitted that they may not have been totally fair, either. What really is the kid? He started to make progress last year and then this happens. The kid should be in Phoenix playing. Kurt Overhardt (Turris’ agent) should get him to Phoenix and get him on the ice.”
The Coyotes are in a unique situation with Turris. Maloney can play hardball all he wants. The team is in its third straight season of being run by the league, so there’s not going to be any pressure from ownership to get Turris signed.
Maloney told the Phoenix media in a text message Thursday he hasn’t changed his stance on the 2007 No. 3 overall draft pick, who had 11 goals and 14 assists last season.
“There is nothing new to report,” Maloney wrote to the media after ESPN.com confirmed Turris had asked to be dealt. “The CBA gives us certain rights to Turris, and we are exercising our rights.
“There will be a point in the future Turris will have the right to decide who he wants to play for and how much he will accept. He is not at this stage, given his age and experience. If he wants to play in the NHL this season, he will re-sign with us.
“We will not trade his rights under any circumstances and are prepared to live with the consequences if he decides to sit out this, and future, seasons.”
MacLean said there will be a lot of interest in Turris.
“Guys to play centre are hard to find,” said MacLean. “I’m not sure this guy can’t be a No. 1 centreman. He was projected as a No. 1 centreman in his draft year and he’s a good kid, so I’m not sure where this is coming from.”
The Turris situation took another twist Friday when Phoenix acquired centre Cal O’Reilly from Nashville for a fourth-round pick. It’s believed Ottawa also looked at trying to deal for O’Reilly.
“I’m not overly optimistic that Kyle (Turris) will sign with us this season,” said Maloney in a statement. “However, the door is always open for him to return.”