He still wants the Coyotes to know they made the right move when they picked him third overall in last month’s NHL draft.
“I want to put in a good first impression,” Turris said after the 90-minute skate Saturday at the team’s practice facility. “I’m working my hardest.”
Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky already liked Turris, a 17-year-old player from New Westminster, British Columbia. Gretzky liked him even more in a gray Coyotes practice sweater, with Turris flashing the breathtaking speed that helped make him the draft’s top-ranked North American skater.
“I’m a big fan of his,” Gretzky said. “I think he just plays the game the way the game should be played. He plays with tremendous vision and he’s still only 17 years old. He’s got a lot of great years ahead of him and he just has a tremendous attitude, as do all of the kids we have here.
“When you’re the third pick overall, obviously there’s a lot of pressure, but he handles himself very well,” Gretzky said.
Turris drew most of the attention as about 200 fans took refuge from triple-digit heat to watch the Coyotes open their rookie camp with 19 skaters and five goalies. Two players with NHL experience – defenceman Keith Yandle and left wing Daniel Carcillo – are among those in camp.
Other top prospects include centres Martin Hanzal and Peter Mueller and right wing Blake Wheeler, all recent first-round draft picks.
It’s hard to say how many of the youngsters will play for Phoenix this season, if ever. But there will be plenty of opportunity for prospects to move up quickly because the Coyotes have balked at signing veteran free agents, a departure from recent summers.
“You always want to get better and get a quick fix, but I think we all realize that at this point in time, we’re going to have to dig down from within,” Gretzky said.
Turris probably won’t be in Phoenix for a while. He reiterated his decision to play for the University of Wisconsin next season, a move the Coyotes have endorsed. After that, Turris is hoping he won’t have to wait long to make his NHL debut.
“I’m just going to take it year by year,” he said. “If Phoenix wants me next year, I’m coming next year. If they think I need a couple years, it’s all up to them. I want to play in the NHL so bad that I’ll do anything.”