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The Turris Saga: Classic Case of Agents Being Agents

Posted By Corey Krakower On Oct 27 2011 @ 3:53 pm In Around The Rinks | 1 Comment

Earlier this afternoon, Pierre LeBrun of ESPN shed some light on the Kyle Turris holdout in Phoenix [1]. His article confirms that Kyle Turris has requested a trade out of Phoenix, while also confirming GM Don Maloney’s stance that his rights will not be dealt. Turris is a former 1st round draft pick and is currently a restricted free agent. If he does not sign a contract by December 1, he will not be eligible to play in the NHL this season.

Fans can argue until they are blue in the face as to whether or not Kyle Turris is getting bad advice from his agent Kurt Overhardt. However, it is evident that Turris, for whatever reason, does not like playing in Phoenix and would rather sit out than play. It could be because of ice time, it could be because he doesn’t like the city, it could be because he doesn’t like his teammates. Who knows. Regardless, the agent in this situation has to support his client and do what he can to make him happy. If Turris was not happy with how this situation was being handled, he would have fired his representation already.

Now fast forward back to today’s article by Pierre LeBrun.┬áNothing he revealed in his article comes as a shock, but it’s the timing of this piece coming out and the wording of certain quotes that show how Kurt Overhardt is trying to gain leverage for his client.

“This 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”

The most interesting part of the quote – the usage of the words “from day 1″. Turris has been an RFA for a while, so Overhardt’s timing of leaking this information is intriguing. The agent is using a tactic where he picks a time when the team is not doing well, with the intent of putting pressure on the team to make something happen. The Coyotes are in 12th place in the Western Conference with a 3-3-2 record, so there is already a sense that this may not be a playoff team. Think about it this way, if the Washington Capitals had Kyle Turris, with the Caps being 7-0, there is no way this news leaks out today from the agent because the reaction would be “let him sit out, the team is doing well”.

Here is another quote:

“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.”

This is yet another brilliant pressure tactic by the agent. He is well aware that the team is struggling, so he reveals that Phoenix can obtain “valuable assets” in a trade for his client. Again, because the team is losing, passing up a chance to improve your roster out of principle, right or wrong, will be looked at negatively by the media and the fans. If this story broke in a market where the team was doing very well, the reaction of the fans/media would be “if you don’t want to play, keep sitting out. we’re doing fine without you.”

No one knows how this will play out. What is obvious is that in light of this story, the agent will gain major leverage for his client if the team were to continue to struggle over their next 5-10 games. My guess is that if the team loses the majority, Turris will be dealt in an effort to salvage the season. If the team wins the majority, Don Maloney will be perfectly content to stick to his principles and let Turris lose a year of hockey.

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[1] Kyle Turris holdout in Phoenix: http://espn.go.com/nhl/story/_/id/7155852/kyle-turris-asks-phoenix-coyotes-trade

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