The Chicago Blackhawks have acquired forward Tomas Jurco from the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for a 2017 third-round pick, the team announced Friday. The team also reassigned forward Vinnie Hinostroza to the AHL to make room on the active roster.
Jurco, 24, is a buy low opportunity for the Blackhawks, who apparently targeted him for weeks. He’s failed to record a point in 16 games with the Red Wings this season, but the former second-round pick has shown flashes of a solid two-way game in the past. In 113 career AHL games, he’s recorded 33 goals and 38 assists.
The Red Wings drafted Jurco with the 35th overall pick in the 2011 NHL Draft, and he’s bounced between the NHL and AHL since then. In 159 games with Detroit since making his debut in 2013-14, the winger has recorded 15 goals and 24 assists. He set career-highs during the 2014-15 season with 18 points in 63 games.
Jurco has a cap hit of $900,000 for this season, and will become a restricted free agent in the offseason. He will be arbitration-eligible, however, which gives him a little more leverage than other RFAs.
We’ll have more on the move in the next day, but it’s fair to say this is an interesting one for the Blackhawks. Jurco isn’t exactly the proven commodity you’d expect a Stanley Cup contender to acquire before the trade deadline, and it’s not readily apparent how he’ll fit into the current roster.
Now that Hinostroza is down in the AHL, you can assume they view Jurco as an upgrade to the bottom six, and maybe that’s the case. But for the price of a third-round pick, even if it’s near the bottom of the round, it’s a little surprising that the team is taking a shot on a young player rather than someone more experienced. Jurco is bigger (6’2, 188 pounds) and further along in his development than Hinostroza, but he has played in just 10 playoff games in his NHL career.
Maybe GM Stan Bowman has another move or two up his sleeve before the trade deadline on March 1, but otherwise, this would be a fairly minor addition to the roster. That could be a sign of confidence in the current top six, particularly after Bowman said he didn’t expect any moves, or maybe there’s more going on. Stay tuned.