Blackhawks News

Chicago Blackhawks Swap Jurco For Hayden, Dump Franson

By Colin Likas
DENVER, CO - APRIL 04: Tomas Jurco
DENVER, CO - APRIL 04: Tomas Jurco /
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The Chicago Blackhawks made a trio of moves Monday morning after winning Sunday against Edmonton, calling up Tomas Jurco, demoting John Hayden and placing Cody Franson on waivers

The Chicago Blackhawks have made few moves this season that weren’t injury-forced. In fact, it’s hard to say they’ve made any that didn’t come just after someone got hurt, with Vinnie Hinostroza’s call-up being the possible exception.

But the Blackhawks flipped the script Monday, less than 24 hours after defeating the Edmonton Oilers. They called up Tomas Jurco, demoted John Hayden to the Rockford IceHogs and placed Cody Franson on waivers.

The first two of those moves are surprising, to say the least. You wouldn’t think the Blackhawks would demote someone from their fourth line, as coach Joel Quenneville seems to like what he’s getting from that unit. It’s never been about scoring for Hayden, Lance Bouma and Tommy Wingels — it’s been about creating energy.

But the Blackhawks appear to want more offensive production in their lineup, and to that end they decided Jurco was the better option.

Meanwhile, Franson was being butted out on defense after the emergence of Jordan Oesterle. It’s not terribly surprising Franson is on waivers. Should he clear, he can join the Rockford IceHogs, but there’s a chance another team will bite on the veteran blueliner.

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Where does Jurco fit in?

Jurco was acquired from the Detroit Red Wings last season as an attempt by Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman to add some complementary scoring punch.

That effort failed, with Jurco scoring just one point in 13 regular-season games and not being involved in the Blackhawks’ playoff sweep at the hands of Nashville.

However, Jurco has torn it up in the AHL, creating 25 points in 36 games for the Hogs — in addition to 38 penalty minutes. So the Blackhawks seem hopeful Jurco has found some confidence that can translate over to the NHL, like Hinostroza did.

The big question is, where does Jurco fit in this lineup? If you want more scoring punch, that’s fine. But logically, Jurco only fits in on the fourth line. And that line, as was said, hasn’t been asked to score. Wingels has occasionally, while Bouma really hasn’t. Maybe adding Jurco to that line creates something offensively?

Patrick Sharp seems a little rejuvenated playing alongside David Kampf, with Alex DeBrincat also on that line, so I wouldn’t mess with that right now. It basically means you’re shoehorning Jurco onto a non-scoring line after bringing him up with the purpose of giving the Blackhawks more offense.

Next: Blackhawks' Defense, Goaltending Midseason Grades

It seems a little odd to me. And maybe that’s why some on social media are suggesting a trade could be in the works. I guess we’ll wait and see.

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