On Friday, the Edmonton Oilers placed veteran center Kyle Turris on waivers. Turris, who was bought out but the Nashville Predators this past fall, signed with the club in October. Turris is in the first of a two-year deal that carries an annual cap hit of $1,650,000.
While the club would love to see that contract claimed by another team, the reality is Turris has struggled mightily this season. He’s no longer the top-six forward who aided the Ottawa Senators just a few short seasons ago. The more likely outcome? Turris will clear waivers and be eligible for the taxi squad.
“He’s been up and down a little bit,” Dave Tippett said of Turris’ season. “Had a tough start and then ended up coming back and actually played some of his better games. Then ended up on the COVID-19 Protocol (list) and then has come back and been up and down a little bit. That is very much similar as what we’ve done with some other players where it’s roster flexibility. You need players to have the ability to go up and down to the taxi squad.”
One reason for the decision could be to recall forward Tyler Ennis. Ennis recently was waived, cleared and went to the taxi squad. He could draw into the lineup tonight.
Another potential option? James Neal, who has only appeared in 17 games this season. He too is on the taxi squad, but could return soon.
“I do,” GM Ken Holland said on Friday when asked if he thought Neal was close to returning. “Today he’s on taxi. Let’s fast-forward five days, if he was on taxi on April 13, part of what I’m going to do is to make sure that we’ve got cap space available so that we can access our taxi, and also cap space available if Slater Koekkoek gets healthy and he’s ahead of schedule. Certainly, James Neal will be available to Dave Tippett if he wants to put him in the lineup.”
The Oilers will find out in a few short hours if they created cap space or flexibility.