Multiple sources have indicated the Phoenix Coyotes are pushing hard to have third overall pick Kyle Turris leave the University of Wisconsin and it's likely he'll be in the Coyotes lineup before the end of the season.
The Coyotes apparently feel Turris can not only gain some valuable experience by playing down the stretch as they chase a playoff spot, but that he can also make a tangible contribution this season.
"I've been consistent in saying that we will sit down with Kyle and his family and his advisor after this season to review Kyle's situation and see how much sense turning pro makes," said Coyotes GM Don Maloney.
But when Maloney refers to "this season," he's talking about this U.S. college season, which for Turris, could end as early as mid-March.
Wisconsin is normally a contender, but the Badgers are in a rebuilding phase this season and go into this weekend tied for fourth in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.
All 10 teams in the league qualify for the playoffs, which will be completed by March 15.
The league then has a "Final Five" championship series and if the Badgers were to get that far, that would be concluded by March 22.
There is no deadline in the NHL for signing college players, so, assuming the Badgers don't advance beyond the WCHA, Turris could join the Coyotes for the last two weeks of the season and the playoffs, if they qualify.
Turris, who was taken third overall by the Coyotes last June after playing Junior A in the British Columbia Junior League, leads the Badgers in scoring with 10 goals and 28 points in 24 games. That puts him sixth overall in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association and fourth among freshmen in the NCAA.
"We're really pleased where Kyle is headed," Maloney said. "Whether that means he'll be playing with our team in April or May or whether it's next September or the following April, I'm not sure. But I'm sure it won't be any later than that."
Ken Campbell is a senior writer for The Hockey News and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Tuesdays and Fridays and his column, Campbell's Cuts, appears Mondays.
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