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The Puck Stops Here

The Kyle Turris Holdout

One success of the current CBA is that it has limited player holdouts.  In fact the first one of any significance has come in the seventh season of the CBA.  Kyle Turris of the Phoenix Coyotes is holding out this season.

Turris is stuck in a situation where players have limited bargaining power.  They are restricted free agents, so they are tied to their current team, but they do not have salary arbitration rights.  Thus they are forced to accept whatever terms they can negotiate with their current team and there are no outside influences that can reset things if either side is unrealistic.  In principle, another team could sign him to an offer sheet, but as there were none leaguewide this year, that is a faint hope.

Turris is a young potential laden forward who is yet to accomplish much in his career.  Last season he scored a career best 25 points, but as the third pick overall in the 2007 draft, much more is expected of him.

The problem is Turris expects that Phoenix should pay for his potential.  That is what other teams have done.  The Philadelphia Flyers signed James Van Riemsdyk, who was selected second overall in 2007 to a six year contract extension with a $4.25million salary cap hit a few weeks ago.  That kind of contract is what Turris wants; despite the fact Van Riemsdyk has had more NHL points.

Phoenix is in no position to sign a big money longterm contract.  The Phoenix Coyotes are owned by the NHL after going through a bankruptcy.  They are into their third year without a committed owner.  They have signed Martin Hanzal to a longer term contract extension of five years with a $3.1 million salary cap hit and might be willing to do the same with Turris, but he won’t get the amount of money Van Riemsdyk got.

At this point Turris and Phoenix are both backed into a bad situation.  Turris must sign by December 1st or he has to sit out the season.  The bridges between the Coyotes and Turris have been burned and it will be hard to repair them.  The best situation for Turris would be if his holdout forces a trade to another team.  There he would get a new start.  Even with a new start, this season could be a lost season for him and as a young developing player he cannot afford that.

Kyle Turris is the first holdout of any significance in the current CBA.  He might be a test case for players like him, except that we may have a different CBA next year so this test case does not apply.  It hurts the Phoenix Coyotes to lose a player of his potential and probably be forced to trade him for less than full value.  It hurts Kyle Turris to lose a season in his development.  Although both sides can be faulted for the current impasse, the real problem is a systemic one from the CBA.  As a restricted free agent with no arbitration rights, Kyle Turris is stuck in a position where there is no outside force to bring about a resolution.  Both sides have made their “final” offers and are waiting for the other side to accept them.  Compromise is going to be hard to negotiate.

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Elliott Friedman had a piece where he says he’s heard Turris just wants traded out of Phoenix and would ask for a less ridiculous price from just about anyone else.

Posted by steviesteve on 10/12/11 at 03:19 PM ET

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imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

Who am I? A diehard hockey fan.

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