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Jurco growing up fast on farm

Published Tuesday, October 22, 2013, 9:06 p.m. under 2013-14 RWC Reports
Tomas Jurco

Tomas Jurco (Credit: Mark Newman)

Although still only 20 years old, Tomas Jurco is no longer the baby of the American Hockey League.

Back with the Grand Rapids Griffins for his sophomore year after an outstanding second half and playoff run as a rookie, Jurco is off to a good start with a goal and four assists in his first five games, second only to Gustav Nyquist in team scoring.

Jurco, a highly-skilled winger, started slowly as one of the AHL’s youngest players during the NHL lockout in 2012-13. Although he finished the regular season with just 28 points in 74 games, he put up 14 points in his final 22 contests and was even better in the playoffs, helping the Griffins win the Calder Cup with eight goals (third on team), six assists and 69 shots (second) in 22 games.

Now he’s being counted on to carry the offensive load on the Griffins’ top lines and it looks like he’s ready to take another step.

“He’s got a chance to be a top-six forward in the NHL, and very few guys get that opportunity,” Grand Rapids head coach Jeff Blashill told griffinshockey.com. “What he has to do now is take his play and turn it into production on a consistent basis without sacrificing anything from his defense or team game. That’s the challenge of learning to be a go-to guy.

“Tatar learned it. Nyquist learned it. Now he’s going to learn it, and that’s going to be the next step in his maturation process.”

Jurco, who stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 193 pounds, is a former QMJHL star who won a Memorial Cup in 2011 and was subsequently drafted in the second round, 35th overall, despite being ranked as a consensus first-rounder. Former assistant general manager Jim Nill has described Jurco as a “Marian Hossa-type player” as a big winger with tremendous skills.

NOTES: It’s clear how highly the Red Wings think of Xavier Ouellet, calling him up this week to make his NHL debut last week over Adam Almquist. Ouellet is bigger and stronger than Almquist and plays the poised, puck-moving, two-way game the Red Wings covet. He saw 17:15 of ice time in his NHL debut … Almquist is doing just fine, however, tied for second in team scoring with Grand Rapids … Luke Glendening was returned to Grand Rapids after a good stretch with the Red Wings. He appeared in five games, averaging 9:31 of ice time while centering the fourth line and killing plenty of penalties. It won’t be his last stint in Detroit … Center Landon Ferraro (Grand Rapids, AHL) has returned from a broken foot. After a breakthrough season, he’s in the mix for a call-up to Detroit but it may take him some time to find his stride due to the injury … Defenseman Mitchell Wheaton (Kelowna, WHL) returned from injury last week and made his season debut … Right-winger Martin Frk (Grand Rapids, AHL) is having a rude awakening in the pros. It’s not a huge shock — he produced great numbers in junior — but his game needs to come up in a lot of areas for him to be a regular at the pro level.

Sarah Lindenau contributed to this report.

SKATERS: REGULAR-SEASON REPORT

NAME TEAM LEAGUE LEVEL GP G A P PIM +/- SOG
Almquist, Adam Grand Rapids AHL PRO 5 0 5 5 2 +2 10
Callahan, Mitchell Grand Rapids AHL PRO 5 2 1 3 2 +3 10
Jurco, Tomas Grand Rapids AHL PRO 5 1 4 5 0 +2 15
Marchenko, Alexey Grand Rapids AHL PRO 5 1 3 4 4 +2 4
Sheahan, Riley Grand Rapids AHL PRO 5 2 0 2 4 +1 10
Sproul, Ryan Grand Rapids AHL PRO 5 2 1 3 2 +2 13
Glendening, Luke Grand Rapids AHL PRO 2 0 2 2 4 +3 3
Jarnkrok, Calle Grand Rapids AHL PRO 5 1 1 2 0 +4 10
Pulkkinen, Teemu Grand Rapids AHL PRO 5 2 2 4 6 +3 15
Frk, Martin Grand Rapids AHL PRO 2 0 0 0 0 -1 1
Tvrdon, Marek Grand Rapids AHL PRO 1 0 0 0 0 0 3
Nestrasil, Andrej Grand Rapids AHL PRO 5 0 0 0 2 -1 6
Ouellet, Xavier Grand Rapids AHL PRO 5 0 2 2 0 +1 12
Parkes, Trevor Toledo ECHL PRO 1 1 1 2 0 0 3
Nicastro, Max Toledo AHL PRO 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
Mantha, Anthony Val-d’Or QMJHL CHL 12 18 15 33 16 +7 70
Hudon, Philippe Victoriaville QMJHL CHL 11 5 2 7 13 -2 25
Athanasiou, Andreas Barrie OHL CHL 10 4 6 10 15 -2
Nastasiuk, Zach Owen Sound OHL CHL 12 7 7 14 8 -6
Bertuzzi, Tyler Guelph OHL CHL 11 3 8 11 24 -1
McNulty, Marc Prince George WHL CHL 14 2 4 6 32 +1
Janmark, Mattias AIK SEL EUR 14 10 6 16 10 0 43
Backman, Mattias Linkoping SEL EUR 14 1 3 4 2 +1 16
Melen, Hampus Tingsryds SWE-J20 EUR-JR 11 0 5 5 14 -6 17
Bodin, Rasmus Linkoping SWE-J20 EUR-JR 10 0 1 1 2 -3 1
De Haas, James Clarkson ECAC NCAA 4 1 0 1 2 -1 9
Marshall, Ben Minnesota BIG-10 NCAA 2 0 1 1 2 +1 7
McKee, Mike W. Michigan BIG-10 NCAA 2 0 0 0 4 0 0
Pope, David W. Kelowna USHL/JR-A JR-A 9 5 3 0

GOALIES: REGULAR SEASON REPORT

NAME TEAM LEAGUE GP W L O/S SO GAA SV%
Paterson, Jake Saginaw OHL 10 5 5 0 0 3.58 .907
Coreau, Jared Grand Rapids AHL 1 0 1 0 0 3.82 .846
Mrazek, Petr Grand Rapids AHL 3 1 1 1 0 3.19 .884
18 Comments
  1. Patrick says:

    he probly is… Glendening recalled again… lets see what he can do!

  2. John P says:

    Nice article on Jurco. I think Jurco, Mrazek, Jarnkrok and Sproul are the four prospects with the most chance of developing into elite NHL players.
    The Wings are really overloaded with prospects and almost all of the forwards are small. There is no way that all of them will even be given a chance, let alone play for the Wings. I think it would be a good idea to package two or three of these prospects for one elite power forward prospect or player. The Wings lack a true power forward in their system or on their team.

    I was disappointed that the Wings didn’t call up Almquist and give him a shot instead of Ouellet. The Wings desperately need some offense from their defensemen and Almquist showed all last season and in preseason he can do just that. The idea that his size should hold him back is ridiculous considering the number of small NHL players, including defensemen, who are very successful. At this point Almquist has proven and produced more than Ouellet. I can say this for sure, both Almquist and Ouellet could step in and do a better job than Smith is doing and could probably outplay Quincey most nights.

    The NHL has changed. More and more young players are stepping right into the NHL and being successful. The Wings rigid development philosophy seems to be outdated. Some players need time to mature and some can play in the NHL while they mature.

  3. Patrick says:

    I disagree John…. we have a lot of big forwards…the average size is 6’1″ 204…. which includes defenseman that are a hell of a lot bigger

    Sheahan-6’2″ 212
    Mantha-6’4″ 190
    Jurco-6’2″ 193
    Tvrdon-6’2″ 217
    Bodin-6’6″ 207
    Sproul-6’3″ 186

    plus Gleason, Mckee, Wheaton, and Mcnulty…



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