Tomas Jurco was acquired by the Chicago Blackhawks for a third-round pick from the Detroit Red Wings, and the young Slovenian will look to change the course of his career in the Windy City.
Tomas Jurco is an interesting case. Similar to many Detroit Red Wing prospects, Jurco was developed on a slow-and-steady pace. He showed tremendous potential earlier in his career, but has fallen off ever since. He has played in just 16 games in 2016-17 and has yet to record a point.
Due to his lack of production, the Red Wings decided to part ways with the 24-year old forward. The Chicago Blackhawks showed plenty of interest and were able to land his services for a 2017 third-round pick. Given the small price, the Blackhawks will hope Jurco can turn things around in 2016-17.
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Looking back at Jurco’s career, there is no telling what may come moving forward. He was a talented player in the QMJHL with the Saint John Sea Dogs, and flirted with a point-per-game pace his whole career.
As a member of the Grand Rapids Griffins in the AHL, Jurco showed strong promise with an impressive rookie season in 2012-13. He scored 14 goals with 14 assists in 74 games, but followed that up with 13 goals and 19 assists in 32 games in 2013-14. He made his Red Wings debut that same season, and scored eight goals with seven assists in 36 games.
Can Jurco be the same offensive player at the NHL level moving forward? If given an opportunity, it will be interesting to see what he can do. He has proven offensive gifts, but needs to find consistency at the highest level. Mind you, playing primarily a bottom-six role has affected his overall development, but his move to the Blackhawks should change that.
The Blackhawks are sitting second in the Central Division, and are looking to beef up their squad before the NHL playoffs. They have qualified for every NHL playoffs since the 2008-09 season, and will need to bounce back after a first round exit last season. In a hard-fought series, the Blackhawks lost to the St. Louis Blues in seven games. It was their first opening series loss during the Jonathan Toews–Patrick Kane era, but the Blackhawks have every intention of righting the ship.
One major issue is the lack of high-end secondary scoring to help their stars. Artem Anisimov started the season on a tear, but slowed down considerably ever since. Artemi Panarin is their best acquisition, but much more is needed in this era of NHL hockey.
Richard Panik is starting to heat up, and Nick Schmaltz is doing everything he can to be a top-six player. Ryan Hartman has been impressive as well, but his inconsistencies make him, at best, a third line player right now.
Adding Jurco not only gives them some young depth, but expands their ability to ramp up the offense. Jurco has 16 games under his belt, and has yet to record a point in 2016-17. They have plenty of elite talent, and surrounding himself with a great supporting cast could provide the boost he needs to excel in the NHL.