After a small flurry of roster moves on Monday, Tomas Jurco has rejoined the Chicago Blackhawks’ roster. After a solid start in the AHL this season, where does he fit in the ‘Hawks’ lineup?
On Monday, the Chicago Blackhawks made three surprising roster moves, placing Cody Franson on waivers, assigning John Hayden to the Rockford IceHogs and calling upon Tomas Jurco to join the NHL club. These are all moves that have raised some eyebrows.
While Hayden has been a welcome player in the lineup as someone who plays with energy and is not afraid to drop the gloves with most anyone, Hayden’s production has been inconsistent, with three goals and 11 points in 38 games; Hayden also sits with a negative-4 rating. They may want him in Rockford to develop a bit more, and get a bit more playing time.
After last season, most people have a bleak outlook on the 25-year-old winger Jurco. After trading for him last season, he had one goal in 13 games with the ‘Hawks and did not see any time in their first-round postseason exit.
Jurco showed that he had good speed, but that was about it. He never really seemed to fit in the lineup and did not make the most of his speed. So on his second stint with the team, where does he does he fit in?
Exploring options for Jurco
The most logical and probable answer would be a drop in on the fourth line, halting the need to swap and make any changes in the lineup. The other option would be rearranging the bottom six, and fitting Jurco on the third line. With the line of Alex DeBrincat, David Kampf and Patrick Sharp producing as of the last couple of games, this may be a bit unlikely.
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While in Rockford, Jurco was second in scoring with 25 points in 36 games. He currently has 13 goals, scoring three goals in his last four games, also having five multi-point games and at one time another four-game goal streak.
It seems some AHL time for Jurco may have helped bring up his confidence, as he also leads the entire AHL with 125 shots on goal. Jurco has been utilizing his speed to find open ice and get the puck on net.
With Vinnie Hinostroza having good speed and having a positive impact on the team, he may have helped pave the way for Jurco. By adding his speed and energy to the fourth line, Jurco might be able to bring some more production to the line, giving the Blackhawks more consistent scoring throughout the lineup.
While Jurco hardly seems to be a fix for the team, there is also speculation this could be a sign of a coming trade. While many rumors have been circulating, there is a thought the ‘Hawks might be trying to showcase Jurco to increase his trade value.
A former first-round pick with great speed, if he can produce at the NHL level, he may attract some attention and sell high. With the ‘Hawks in need of a true NHL-caliber center and placing Franson on waivers, it would only make sense that a trade is in the works.
There are not very high expectations for Jurco this time around, so either scenario could be great for the Blackhawks. If he does produce and stays in the lineup, the ‘Hawks add a scoring winger to bolster their bottom six. Scoring has been inconsistent, so adding anyone who can put the puck in the net is a welcome addition.
If the ‘Hawks are displaying him to gear up for a trade, it may help the Blackhawks build for the future. The better he does on ice, the better the return the ‘Hawks could get.