The Nashville Predators are finally getting Kyle Turris back on the ice. The forward has been activated from injured reserve, while Colin Blackwell is on his way back to the minor leagues to make room. Turris hasn’t played since December 27th, but is expected to be in the lineup tonight against the Dallas Stars.
The Predators still sit in a solid position in the Central Division and Western Conference overall, but haven’t been quite as dominant as earlier in the season thanks to some key injuries and a struggling powerplay. Turris’ return should help the team get a little more offensive balance, and it looks like he’ll line up at least tonight beside newcomer Brian Boyle. That’s two big additions to a Predators group that is still chasing the Winnipeg Jets for first place in the Central.
When Nashville handed Turris a long-term extension after acquiring him last season, they expected him to lock down the second-line center role and give them another top offensive contributor. In more limited minutes he might be able to take advantage of weaker matchups, and it seemed to work with 42 points in 65 games last season. Unfortunately that production wasn’t quite up to snuff through the first part of this season, and Turris returns to the lineup with just 18 points in 30 games. His presence is a huge boost, but they’ll need him to get back to his highest level quickly if they are to rely on him down the stretch and into the playoffs.