22-year old Tomas Jurco, previously reported to be close to a two-year deal, has signed that very contract today.
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) July 24, 2015
The former St. John’s Seadog has played in 99 career NHL games and has tallied 11 goals and 33 points.
After putting up eight goals and 15 points in 36 NHL games two seasons ago, Jurco had a very trying sophomore year. He played in 63 games this past season, nursing a back injury at times and potting just three goals and eighteen points. As a result, his ice time dwindled to 11:31, mostly playing bottom six minutes like the recently re-signed Teemu Pulkkinen under Mike Babcock. However, like Pulkkinen, he thrived under the new head coach on the block, Jeff Blashill.
In 106 AHL games, Jurco scored 27 goals and 60 points, including a point-per game pace in the 32 games he played two seasons ago (13G-19A-32P) before earning a call-up to the injury plagued Wings. Coming from the QMJHL, adapting to the pro game is hard for any player, but Jurco commented that Blashill helped the transition greatly.
“I love Blash. He just understands the game really well. He’s a really good guy and you can talk to him and he understands you a person. Great guy, great coach, and I only have great memories of him. He’s a really good talker and that’s one of the best things about him. Every time he showed me something it was like ‘You are right. I can do it differently.’ He just understands it so well. He knows what the players can do a little differently.”
Just got confirmation on Tomas Jurco deal. It's two years at an average salary-cap hit of $900,000.
— Chuck Pleiness (@wingsfrontman) July 24, 2015
Jurco is not alone in this sentiment, and the familiarity between the two could be just what the 22-year old needs to have a breakout season in the NHL thriving in a role that suits his style of play, a big-bodied scorer/playmaker. Blashill has seen a pretty good sample size of the young Slovak sniper and will likely give him the best opportunity to execute while giving him pointers along the way. Added veteran Brad Richards could be another great influence as well bringing a pedigree that includes two Stanley Cup rings and three appearances in the Final. He also has had his ups and well-publicized downs in his career, something he can pass along to someone just starting his.
With the winds of change blowing in Hockeytown, Jurco could be one of, if not the best beneficiary. It all depends on his play however, and with many other prospects waiting in the wings, he should be more than motivated to improve and make a statement entering his second (!!!) full NHL season.
Quotes courtesy of mLive
Stats courtesy of hockeyreference and hockeydb
Tweets courtesy of @DetroitRedWings and @wingsfrontman