The departure of Jason Spezza created a hole on the Ottawa Senators' first line, and 24-year-old Kyle Turris as the prime candidate fill that role.
"If I get that opportunity I'll be excited about the challenge, that's for sure," Turris told the Ottawa Sun.
Turris, 24, had a career year with Ottawa in 2013-14, recording a career-high 26 goals and 58 points. He faced more defensive zone starts than Spezza, who was traded to the Dallas Stars.
Turris was thrust into a first-line role when Spezza was injured during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season and feels he can use that experience going forward.
"This upcoming year, if I'm put into that role again, I think the experience I have now will work in my favor, to know what to expect and how better to prepare for it," he said.
Free agent acquisition David Legwand joins Mike Zibanejad and Zack Smith as the team's other centers, who will compete with Turris for the top spot. Turris should be able to secure first-line duties among that group.
Speaking like a true first-line center, Turris says he feels like the Senators have what it takes to compete in the playoffs.
"Oh without question, I think we've got a definite playoff team and not just a playoff team, I feel we've got a group that can make a run in the playoffs," said Turris. "I definitely feel we have a real good team."
Feature photo courtesy of Marc DesRosiers / US Presswire