Sens sign Turris to five-year deal

Kyle Turris set up the game-winning goal for the Senators Tuesday night. (ERROL McGIHON, QMI AGENCY)

Kyle Turris set up the game-winning goal for the Senators Tuesday night. (ERROL McGIHON, QMI AGENCY)

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:26 PM ET

OTTAWA - Kyle Turris can make himself right at home in Ottawa.

Even if a lockout starts Sept. 15, the Senators centre, 23, can rest assured he’ll have plenty of security when he does return after signing a five-year, $17.5-million contract extension Wednesday.

Turris, who ended a contract holdout when he was dealt to the Senators last December from the Phoenix Coyotes for defenceman David Rundblad, received a hefty raise from the $1.4 million he’ll make in 2012-13.

Discussions started three weeks ago and didn’t take long to come to a conclusion because both sides were motivated.

“I’m really excited. I love it here in Ottawa. This is a great organization and I love the people in it,” Turris said in a conference call. “I’m really looking forward to being here for the next six years and, hopefully, beyond that.

“(The talks) just sort of developed. I knew from the end of the year that was the place that I wanted to be and I wanted to be for a long time. I love everything about the city and the fans.”

Senators GM Bryan Murray said he was happy to get Turris under contract. The organization felt he did a solid job behind top centre Jason Spezza, notching 29 points in 49 games.

“We thought he showed great progress as the year went on last year,” said Murray. “We see him as a very solid, potentially better than second-line player going forward. We felt this was an opportunity for Kyle, as well for ourselves, to commit to a relationship that allows us to sign a core player.

“He’s creative. He’s very competitive. The thing that Kyle appears to have greatly improved upon is his strength. That in itself will make him a more productive player. He gave us a solid player that was a real compliment to Jason Spezza. We like what (Turris) delivered. He gave us a chance pretty much every night to have a real creative second line.”

Even more impressive is the fact Turris stepped up in the club’s playoff series against the New York Rangers with three points in seven games — including the OT winner in Game 4 which tied the series at 2-2 going back to Madison Square Garden.

“No question we like competitive people,” said Murray. “At playoff time you find out a great deal about your players. Kyle is one of those guys that showed up both from a physical and talent point of view.

“He not only got points, but just his overall game really grew as the series went on.”

Turris made a commitment by staying in Ottawa to work with strength and conditioning coach Chris Schwarz during the off-season.

“I stayed here because I wanted to get stronger,” said Turris. “I’ve been working out in the gym with a bunch of guys — including (close friend) Patrick Wiercioch — but I knew it was something I needed to work on if I wanted to get better.”

Murray said Turris, who didn’t get a lot of playing time in Phoenix and no longer fit into the club’s plans under coach Dave Tippett, is a player who fits the mould of what the Ottawa organization wants to be.

“It was just the start of his career. He hadn’t played a lot elsewhere,” said Murray. “Getting a chance to come here with our group, we see a great opportunity for growth. A guy that should be very important.

“This is one of the things this organization will now try to do: Draft or trade for young players, develop as best we can and kind of secure them for the long term. This is how you build a competitive hockey team.”

The change has been refreshing for Turris.

“Being here was a breath of fresh air and fresh start,” said Turris. “I can’t thank Ottawa enough for the opportunity and trading for me. I really appreciate it and I’m thankful to be a part of this organization going forward.”

bruce.garrioch@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @sungarrioch


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