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‘Other people just can’t do’ what Jurco can

Published Wednesday, March 6, 2013, 3:49 p.m. under 2012-13 RWC Reports
Tomas Jurco

Tomas Jurco (Credit: Mark Newman)

There are two things you need to know about Tomas Jurco.

First, and widely known in hockey circles, is that he has immense natural skill, so much so that he was considered a first-round talent back in his draft year.

“When you see some of the goals he’s scored, you say to yourself, ‘OK, this guy has a chance (to play in the NHL), because other people just can’t do that,’” says Grand Rapids Griffins head coach Jeff Blashill.

Second, he’s young — among the 10 youngest players in the American Hockey League — and it’s important to keep that in mind when you look at his first-year statistics.

Jurco, who was a teenaged rookie until he turned 20 on Dec. 28, has eight goals and eight assists for 16 points in 53 games with the Grand Rapids Griffins — a far cry from the 68 points he recorded in 48 games last season with the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs.

Learning the ropes isn’t easy for a rookie at the best of times in the AHL. Throw in the fact that he was playing in a league stacked with locked-out NHLers for the first three months and it gets even harder.

“Tomas is learning how hard and how strong you have to be on the puck and how much you have to value the puck because it just won’t come back to you if you lose it,” Blashill says. “In junior, it comes back to you enough and in pro it doesn’t.

“He’s learning how to go get it more and when he has it to hold onto it longer. That’s confidence and it’s learning how to do it and it just takes time.”

Jurco won a Memorial Cup with the Sea Dogs in 2011 and was selected in the second round, 35th overall, by the Red Wings that summer after slipping from his ranking as a consensus first-rounder.

The Red Wings have compared the 6-foot-2, 193-pounder favorably to Marian Hossa. He can electrify with mind-boggling stick skills given time and open space, but needs significant work on his play in traffic.

But his work ethic, attitude and commitment have been exceptional since his arrival in Grand Rapids.

“The one thing I know about Tomas Jurco is Tomas cares,” Blashill said. “He wants to be a real good hockey player. I’ve spent lots of time with him in video and he’s very receptive and totally wants to be a real good player.

“Now it’s a matter of putting the whole game together and learning to be a successful pro.”

NOTES: Forward Gustav Nyquist (Grand Rapids, AHL) is on a tear with seven goals and seven assists in his past eight games. He’s taken over the AHL scoring lead from Tyler Johnson of Syracuse … Nyquist is ranked No. 55 among NHL prospects in The Hockey News’s annual Future Watch issue. The ranking, which includes prospects in the NHL, tabs defenseman Brendan Smith as the NHL’s 26th-best prospect and center Calle Jarnkrok (Brynas, SEL) at No. 31. Tomas Tatar, Petr Mrazek and Riley Sheahan didn’t crack the top 75 … Jarnkrok finished tied for eighth in Swedish Elite League scoring with 42 points in 53 games, while defenseman Mattias Backman (Linkopings, SEL) was eighth in defense scoring … Right-winger Trevor Parkes (Toledo, ECHL) picked up ECHL player of the week honours and has 15 points in seven games with the Walleye. The gritty forward is a breakout candidate in Grand Rapids next season … A final note about former prospect Jan Mursak: He’ll qualify for Group 6 unrestricted free agency because he will not have reached 80 career NHL games.

Following is this week’s statistical report.


Nyquist, Gustav Grand Rapids AHL PRO 54 22 35 57 30 +11 160
Ferraro, Landon Grand Rapids AHL PRO 52 16 18 34 37 +1 108
Andersson, Joakim Grand Rapids AHL PRO 36 10 17 27 55 +1 84
Parkes, Trevor Grand Rapids AHL PRO 34 3 6 9 35 +6 39
Lashoff, Brian Grand Rapids AHL PRO 36 2 4 6 23 +4 38
Tatar, Tomas Grand Rapids AHL PRO 44 19 20 39 44 +13 147
Almquist, Adam Grand Rapids AHL PRO 48 6 15 21 26 +2 60
Nicastro, Max Grand Rapids AHL PRO 15 1 2 3 5 +1 12
Raedeke, Brent Grand Rapids AHL PRO 31 3 5 8 36 +1 24
Sheahan, Riley Grand Rapids AHL PRO 53 15 18 33 25 +13 80
Aubry, Louis-Marc Grand Rapids AHL PRO 46 1 5 6 40 -2 58
Callahan, Mitchell Grand Rapids AHL PRO 50 10 7 17 82 +2 90
Jurco, Tomas Grand Rapids AHL PRO 53 8 8 16 18 -3 75
Fournier, Gleason Grand Rapids AHL PRO 21 1 3 4 23 -2 15
Nestrasil, Andrej Grand Rapids AHL PRO 14 2 3 5 2 0 15
Coetzee, Willie Grand Rapids AHL PRO 1 0 0 0 0 -1 0
Coetzee, Willie Toledo ECHL PRO 52 23 29 52 16 +1 219
Nestrasil, Andrej Toledo ECHL PRO 40 11 30 41 26 +17 113
Fournier, Gleason Toledo ECHL PRO 10 0 0 0 8 +5 11
Parkes, Trevor Toledo ECHL PRO 7 8 7 15 2 +1 40
Jensen, Nick St. Cloud State WCHA NCAA 34 3 23 26 12 +14 55
Marshall, Ben Minnesota WCHA NCAA 34 5 10 15 18 +10 57
McKee, Mike Lincoln USHL/JR-A USHL 38 3 17 20 278 +13 56
De Haas, James Penticton USHL/JR-A BCHL 51 5 18 23 19
Frk, Martin Halifax CHL QMJHL 49 32 44 76 78 +30 156
Ouellet, Xavier Blainville-Boisbriand CHL QMJHL 46 9 30 39 42 +14 152
Hudon, Philippe Victoriaville CHL QMJHL 59 12 20 32 54 +1 122
Sproul, Ryan Sault Ste. Marie CHL OHL 45 19 45 64 41 +8
Athanasiou, Andreas Barrie CHL OHL 60 27 36 63 28 +13
Quine, Alan Belleville CHL OHL 48 20 41 61 20 +9
Tvrdon, Marek Vancouver CHL WHL 18 8 14 22 16 +2
Nedomlel, Richard Swift Current CHL WHL 67 6 20 26 97 -12
Jarnkrok, Calle Brynas EUR SEL 53 13 29 42 12 -2 136
Backman, Mattias Linkoping EUR SEL 53 2 24 26 34 +5 67
Pulkkinen, Teemu Jokerit EUR FIN 57 13 20 33 49 +4 253
Marchenko, Alexey CSKA Moscow EUR KHL 44 4 5 9 6 -2 46
Bodin, Rasmus Tranas EUR SWE-3 6 0 3 3 0 -5
Bodin, Rasmus HV-71 EUR-JR SWE-J20 13 0 1 1 10 -1 11


Paterson, Jake Saginaw OHL 46 22 18 4 1 3.60 .898
McCollum, Thomas Grand Rapids AHL 23 13 9 1 2 2.83 .897
Pearce, Jordan Grand Rapids AHL 4 0 3 0 0 4.32 .847
Mrazek, Petr Grand Rapids AHL 29 18 9 1 1 2.34 .915
Mrazek, Petr Toledo ECHL 3 2 1 0 0 2.02 .944
Pearce, Jordan Toledo ECHL 27 15 8 3 2 2.56 .906


Marchenko, Alexey CSKA Moscow KHL EUR-PRO 4 0 0 0 0 0 2
  1. YVR says:

    Back to the story of the day, Jurco has both GR’s goals with 3 minutes left in the game.

  2. Joakim says:

    Calle Järnkrok has been nominated for Swedish Elite League MVP, as one of eight players. He’s being described as “a given on the national team”, “is as skilled defensively as he is offensively”, “a spectacular playmaker who can finish as well”, “has tremendous potential, although can already be described as a complete player”. A lot of superlatives…

    Nice goal:

  3. Shawn says:

    Incredible quotes there, Joakim. Thanks for those!

  4. Stevie Y says:

    Why do we even have a prospect page when the best prospect doen’t even get called up when there are injuries? Nyquist has 60 points and leads the AHL in scoring. He should be on a line with Datsyuk and Abby needs to go to the 4th line with Emmerton. If I had it my way here would be the lines for the rest of the season once everyone gets back:


    Tatar back to minors, will replace Miller, Cleary, Brunner or Filppula if they are not re-signed next year
    Emmerton placed on waivers, to AHL if unclaimed
    Eaves healthy extra

  5. Stevie Y says:

    Here are my lines next year if Filppula, Miller, Brunner and Cleary are not re-signed:


    Extra’s: Eaves,Samuelsson

  6. Levi says:

    Nice Steve but not going to happen as much a I would love to see guys like Samuelson and Bert gone it isn’t going to happen. Slim chance is that Bert may retire considering he has been plagued with back issues his whole career and he isn’t getting any younger. I can see Sammy being one if those Hasek like players whose time is way passed him but will refuse to retire. Next year maybe another stressful year like this year like the previously mentioned two taking up a roster spot for a more deserving player. However there will be light at the end if the tunnel with Nyquist and Tatar being full time next year. Barring a major trade I do not see a whole lot of player movement. And if there is a major trade great but I’m truly terrified of what KH is will to give up to land an Iginla or Campbell like player. Time will tell so let’s all cross our fingers that we trade some dead weight for just deep drafts picks. But doubtful.

  7. YVR says:

    I don’t want to see Kenny trade for some over-the-hill rental players since the Wings are not going far in the playoffs even IF they make the playoffs. Right now if the teams below them in the standings win their games-in-hand, the Wings will be 11th in the West. Get rid of guys like Sammy, Bert, Cleary (wonder what Cleary has on Babcock?), White, and Quincey. Play the kids and take our lumps. The Wings fortunes get better when Smith, Jurco, Tatar, Jarnkrok, Sheehan, Ouellet, Sproul, and Mrazek get a few yrs experience.

  8. ryan says:

    RE: Gustav Nyquist

    It makes sense for Holland to keep Nyquist in the AHL. For starters, he is “the man” down there. He is getting all the minutes and being put in all the situations he can handle. It is still the best option for him right now. Secondly, his contract is up this summer. By keeping him off of the Red Wings roster, Holland minimizes whatever extension Gustav will see. If he were putting up NHL numbers this season, that price tag goes up. Tatar is up instead because he’s still signed for cheap through next season.

    Keep Nyquist in the AHL, call him up only if absolutely necessary, but not until the playoffs if they can help it. The salary cap will likely remain below $65M over the next 2 seasons, and saving on contracts now is a necessary foresight.

  9. krsmith17 says:

    2013-14 Roster (I know it’s not going to happen but this is what I would like to see…)

    If I were Ken Holland…
    I would use our 2 amnesty buyouts to buy out Samuelsson and Colaiacovo and I would keep Bertuzzi around if his body could handle it but I have a feeling he’s finished after this season.

    I doubt we will make a whole lot of huge trades or signings so I’ll keep them to a minimum. I would start by resigning UFA’s Filppula, Brunner and Howard and then I would resign RFA’s Nyquist, Andersson, Smith and Kindl. I would bring Jarnkrok over from Sweden and throw him on the team from the start of the season. The only outside signing I would make would be for a defenseman, I would try to sign either Douglas Murray or Ladislav Smid.

    These are the lines I would go with…

    Gustav Nyquist – Henrik Zetterberg – Johan Franzen
    Valtteri Filppula – Pavel Datsyuk – Damien Brunner
    Tomas Tatar – Joakim Andersson – Calle Jarnkrok
    Justin Abdelkader – Darren Helm – Jordin Tootoo
    Cory Emmerton – Patrick Eaves

    Niklas Kronwall – Jonathan Ericsson
    Brendan Smith – Kyle Quincey
    Jakub Kindl – ( Douglas Murray OR Ladislav Smid )
    Brian Lashoff

  10. ScottD says:

    For those of you making the Wings roster future plans what about Pulkkinen? The man seems to shoot the puck about 200+ times a season. Shouldn’t he be considered for a roster spot? I think I would let Filppula walk and try my hand at someone else preferably with size and plays physical. Quick Launch

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