Don Maloney’s Fighting an Unwinnable Battle Against Kyle Turris


During an appearance on local radio station CKOI 104.7 Wednesday evening, Senators director of player development Pierre Dorion said any trade negotiations with the Phoenix Coyotes for Kyle Turris are ‘dead in the water’. (Note: If you’re not up-to-date on the latest Turris happenings, I’ve chronicled the saga here.)

In other words, he’s holding Don Maloney true to his word that the Phoenix Coyotes GM will not trade Turris unless the restricted free agent signs a contract first.

In an email to ESPN, Maloney stated:

“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.


With the December 1st deadline looming – the last day that Turris can sign a contract and still be eligible to play this season – both parties are in high stakes game of poker that puts Maverick’s climactic scene to shame.

Of course, the NHL’s 29 other teams could tender the restricted free an offer sheet but unless Turris is offered an obscene amount of money, the Coyotes will assuredly match any contract.  
More importantly, article 10.3(b) of the NHL’s CBA stipulates that:


If the Prior Club gives the Restricted Free Agent notice that it is exercising its Right of First Refusal (a “First Refusal Exercise Notice”), such notice to be substantially in the form of Exhibit 7 attached hereto, within the seven (7) day period, such Restricted Free Agent and the Prior Club shall be deemed to have entered into a binding agreement, which they shall promptly formalize in a Player Contract, containing (i) all the Principal Terms (subject to subsection (e) below); and (ii) such additional terms as may be agreed upon between the Restricted Free Agent and the Prior Club.  The Prior Club may not trade that Restricted Free Agent for a period of one year from the date it exercises its Right of First Refusal.

Forgive the legalese but in essence, this means that regardless of which club tenders the player the offer sheet, when a player accepts an offer, he is bound for one year to whichever team ultimately winds up with his contractual rights. For Turris, there’s absolutely no incentive to sign an offer sheet since it could potentially bind him to the Coyotes for one more year.

In consequence, there is a stalemate. As much as the organization has a right to flex its muscle and attempt to keep a player under team control, they’re also ignoring the player’s right to request a trade.

This brings us to Mr. Maloney’s statements at the beginning of training camp:

“Well I think Kyle believes in himself. He believes he’s a good player in this league and we’d certainly like more opportunity for him to show it.

But we’re not a developing team, we’re here to win, we’re here to win now. He showed a step forward in the playoffs last year. That’s why we’d like to get him back. We’d like to show that process and that step forward and the production we need out of Kyle Turris to be a good offensive player. But it’s not there yet… You have to perform before you get paid.”

Weird. Jay Feaster says the same thing about the 4-5-1 Calgary Flames.

Unfortunately for Maloney, this statement is in direct conflict with everything that he said earlier in this article.

If the organization was truly serious about winning now, instead of trying to convince a player who has no interest in remaining the property of the Phoenix Coyotes, wouldn’t it be in the best interests of the organization to trade the player for NHL ready assets that can help this team win now?

From what Turris’ agent Kurt Overhardt had to say, it doesn’t sound like his client wants anything to do with the Coyotes.

“(The situation) has never been about money, we’ve been upfront with the club from Day 1. We’ve respectfully requested that the player had the opportunity to move forward in his career by having a fresh start.

I know that the Coyotes’ organization can benefit significantly by moving this asset. As a Group 2 free agent and speaking to several teams — which I won’t name — I know that there’s a number of clubs that have put forth significant offers to the Coyotes’ organization which include valuable assets which would benefit Phoenix.”

Suffice it to say, the longer this process goes on, the less inherent value Kyle Turris will have. Those ‘significant offers’ will continue deteriorate as Turris becomes further removed from his last NHL game.

It appears as though everyone but Don Maloney is willing to acknowledge this publicly but then again, he’s just a GM who’s posturing and trying to create leverage so that he can maximize the return on a promising but unproven player.

The smart and only play is for Maloney to trade him. Until then, everything’s just ‘dead in the water’.