Tomas Jurco Traded to Chicago Blackhawks

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NASHVILLE, TN - FEBRUARY 4: Tomas Jurco #26 of the Detroit Red Wings skates against the Nashville Predators during an NHL game at Bridgestone Arena on February 4, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Ronald C. Modra/NHL/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Tomas Jurco

After parts of three seasons with limited playing time and killed confidence, Tomas Jurco is finally getting his fresh start with a new organization that may have some type of role for him. He has been traded to the Chicago Blackhawks for a 2017 third-round pick.

Jurco has zero points in 16 games this season, logging an average of just over ten minutes of ice time. He carries a $900,000 cap hit with an expiring contract this summer. He will be a restricted free agent.

In 159 career games, Jurco has scored 15 goals and 39 points, including seven goals in the last 123 contests. That is quite a let down from afar, especially with Jurco earning admiration for his viral skill-set that lead Detroit to picking him as high as 35th overall in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. However, between an uneven amount of playing time and no real opportunities under Mike Babcock and Jeff Blashill, Jurco’s confidence dwindled as he logged minutes with players that could not play to his game.

Jurco’s best taste of NHL action came at the beginning of his career in 2013-14 when the Wings played virtually the entire second half of the season without Henrik Zetterberg or Pavel Datsyuk and called on the likes of Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, and Jurco to help them get to the playoffs. With 13:28 of average ice time, the then-21 year-old flourished scoring eight goals and 15 points in his first 36 NHL games. Among players who played at least 35 games, his Corsi-for percentage was 56.23% and his shot attempt relative ratio to him being on the ice versus off was +10.6, both topping Detroit’s forward group. It is a small sample size, especially for a rookie who didn’t have an opportunity to possibly hit a “rookie wall,” but it is the only time he has ever gotten consistent top six looks.

Playing in a system that includes the likes of puck movers on the back end in Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook as well as superstar rovers up front in Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews Jurco could flourish if given the consistent opportunity in the top six, which has been a revolving door this season in Chicago. Toews lately has had either Richard Panik or Vincent Hinostroza as his linemate, and the Blackhawks just made a corresponding move to move the latter down to the AHL. Toews himself has come alive in recent days, as since January 25th he’s scored six goals and 16 points. He could be the spark Jurco needs as the Hawks push towards another Stanley Cup.

Getting a third round pick in this deal is huge for the Red Wings given Jurco’s raw production. Given the market for defensemen and forwards and the rate of return as seen with Ron Hainsey (2nd round pick) and Patrick Eaves (2nd round pick that could become a first), Pieces like Thomas Vanek, Brendan Smith, and even Mike Green could fetch more than decent hauls. They have ample time before Wednesday’s trade deadline on their bye week to acquire more assets as they head towards being sellers.

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