Kurt Overhardt, the agent for Phoenix Coyotes restricted free agent Kyle Turris, went on a public relations offensive on Thursday to (a) confirm that his client wants out of Glendale and (b) attempt to shift the focus from the player's financial demands to seeking what's best for his on-ice career.
Initial reports had Turris seeking upwards of $4 million per season for a 3-year extension. "All the speculation about money was completely erroneous," said Overhardt to XM Home Ice, claiming "this has never been about money" and that Turris is just seeking a "fresh start."
Coyotes GM Don Maloney, of course, sees this a little differently. While he didn't spell out Turris's money demands, Maloney told NHL Live that the Coyotes do "pay people," citing recent contracts for Martin Hanzal and Keith Yandle
"We'll pay Kyle Turris as soon as he gets into the League and he gets a regular role, with a top six or nine forward role," Maloney said on the program.
As far as Turris's desire to leave the organization, despite wearing the shackles of restricted free agency, Maloney had the expected response.
"We think from an organizational standpoint, we can't allow people that are unhappy with their ice time or the way they've been used or treated in the past dictate when they want to be traded," he said. "It's very, very clear: If he wants to play in the NHL this season, he'll sign with us. Anything else, then he won't, and we'll deal with the consequences from that."
So that's Maloney's stance. Or is it the NHL's stance? Coming up, Overhardt's conspiracy theory about the NHL owning the Coyotes and, in turn, not appreciating the moneymaker that is Kyle Turris.
From XM Home Ice on Thursday, here's Overhardt responding to a question about offer sheets:
"Is it the Coyotes that match it, or is it the League. The League runs this organization, and I think that's problematic right there, isn't it? That's something the media hasn't really brought to the forefront.
"It's interesting: The League is funding this organization right now, and the organization is accountable to the National Hockey League, and the National Hockey League is accountable to 29 organizations.
"You would think that the other 29 organizations … in fact, several general managers have expressed, you know, their frustration by the club's unwillingness to this date to move this player, only from the standpoint that it could benefit their organizations that have a need down the middle and could benefit the League.
"If Kyle Turris is playing [like he did in the playoffs], it's beneficial to everybody. It's beneficial from a pure business standpoint for the National Hockey League, for hockey-related revenues, and it's going to be beneficial to the team that gets this player, and it'll be beneficial to the Coyotes in the long run and the short run because they'll get a player that can play right now, whoever that player might be."
Glad to see an agent with the NHL's financial interests in mind ...
Thing is, Turris's frustration is understandable. Even Maloney admitted that the team didn't develop Turris the right way: Yanking him out of college, putting him in the NHL too early. The two players taken in front of Turris in 2007 have gotten paid, and paid big: Patrick Kane and James van Riemsdyk. They're also better players in 2011 than he is, and Turri can rightfully gripe about the way the Coyotes developed him for that.
He's a player who could use a fresh start. Problem is, he's also an asset beholden to the team that drafted him, per the CBA.
Maloney is pessimistic about this situation being resolved amicably. We don't blame him.