Kyle Turris believes Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk is the reason he's no longer in the nation's capital.
Speaking before his team's game in Vancouver against the Canucks on Wednesday, the Nashville Predators centre reflected on his time with the Senators that ended with a three-team trade last month.
"It's tough because I think management did want to sign me, but I think that the owner didn't," Turris said following Nashville's morning skate. "And that was his decision."
Turris, who was set to become an unrestricted free agent next summer, was shipped to the Predators in a deal that saw the Senators get centre Matt Duchene from the Colorado Avalanche on Nov. 5.
Ottawa and Nashville have gone in opposite directions since the trade. The Senators won their first two games with Duchene in the lineup, but are just 1-10-2 since – the worst record in the NHL over that span – to tumble down the Eastern Conference standings.
The Predators, meanwhile, are 11-2-2, with Turris contributing three goals and 10 assists in 14 games to sit fourth in the West and sixth overall.
Duchene has two goals and two assists for Ottawa, which has lost five in a row and hosted the New York Rangers on Wednesday.
Senators general manager Pierre Dorion disputed Turris' version of events prior to the game.
"Everything hockey goes through me, not through Mr. Melnyk," Dorion told reporters in Ottawa. "We made a decision here, obviously we talked about it when we made the trade. We wish Kyle the best of luck, he's a great human being.
"The contract that he signed with them he wouldn't take with us. It's as simple as that. Pierre Dorion makes hockey decisions. I get great support from Mr. Melnyk, but Pierre Dorion makes hockey decisions."
Turris' comments come at time when the future of Ottawa captain Erik Karlsson has made fans uneasy after the superstar defenceman said recently he won't take a hometown discount when his current contract runs out after the 2018-19 season.
"He's a god there," said Turris, who signed a six-year, US$36-million extension with Nashville after the trade. "He's such a good player all around. Defensively, offensively he is the heart of that team. He's a great leader, he's a great person.
"He's somebody an organization like Ottawa can't lose."
Turris, who helped the Senators get to within one shot of making the Stanley Cup final last spring, said he keeps tabs on his old team and is confident they'll be able to turn things around.
"With the success you had the year before, everybody's giving you a bit more respect and playing you a bit harder," he said. "They'll figure it out. Over the course of the season they'll bounce back."