Blackhawks recall Tomas Jurco, reassign John Hayden to AHL

The Hawks shake it up on the fourth line.

The Chicago Blackhawks have recalled forward Tomas Jurco from the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs, the team announced Monday. John Hayden has been reassigned to Rockford to make room on the roster.

Jurco, who was acquired from the Red Wings last year for a third-round pick, has been putting up good numbers for the IceHogs this season. He’s second on the team in goals (13) and points (25) behind Matthew Highmore, and leads the way with an impressive 3.47 shots on goal per game.

That final stat is arguably the most encouraging thing about Jurco’s play in Rockford, as he’s been aggressive in putting pucks on net and isn’t succeeding with an unusually high shooting percentage. The Blackhawks gave up a pick to acquire the 25-year-old and clearly aren’t ready to bail quite yet.

It also isn’t too surprising that Hayden has been reassigned given he hasn’t scored a goal since Nov. 25. The rookie forward is valued for his physical play in addition to his ability to produce, but he’s also put up more than two shots on goal in just one game since the start of December.

The Blackhawks need some production from their fourth line, and Hayden has been underwhelming for weeks. Lance Bouma and Tommy Wingels also aren’t waiver-exempt, so if the team wanted to shake up that group without risking losing a player for nothing, Hayden was going to be the odd man out.

Jurco is under contract for this season at a $800,000 cap hit and will become an arbitration-eligible restricted free agent in the summer. Hayden has a $925,000 cap hit and will also be an arbitration-eligible RFA because he signed his entry-level contract at age 22.