The Chicago Blackhawks have acquired Tomas Jurco from the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for a 2017 third-round draft pick, the team announced Friday. Jurco has played in only 16 games with the Red Wings this season, as well as two games with the Grand Rapids Griffins on a conditioning stint.
Welcome to Chicago, @Tomas_Jurco!
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) February 24, 2017
Jurco has been held pointless this season in the 16 games he’s played this season and has yet to receive consistent playing time in the NHL since being drafted in the second round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft by the Red Wings. In 159 career NHL games, Jurco has scored 15 goals and 39 points. One of the most skilled players in the league, Jurco has been looking for his opportunity to break out in the NHL for years – the Chicago Blackhawks saw the potential and struck a deal – though this trade didn’t appear out of thin air.
As Pierre LeBrun of ESPN reported, the Blackhawks have been looking at Jurco for the last six weeks. The Blackhawks were set to enter the deadline with a stand-pat mentality, and though the acquisition of Jurco isn’t quite the splash that the team has made in recent years when they acquired Antoine Vermette from the Arizona Coyotes in 2015 and Andrew Ladd from the Winnipeg Jets last season, Jurco still figures to be a solid depth addition to a Blackhawks team primed to make a deep run once again.
Jurco figures to slot into the bottom-six of the Blackhawks with their top-six clicking as of late. The team is unlikely to tamper with the lines of Nick Schmaltz, Jonathan Toews and Richard Panik, as well as the line of Artemi Panarin, Artem Anisimov and Patrick Kane. Still, should the Blackhawks offense run dry for any reason, Jurco could slot into a top-six role in a pinch to help rejuvenate the team.
The Blackhawks are in a win-now mode. Despite winning three of the last seven Stanley Cups, the team still needs to compete now to maximize on their current group. Acquiring Jurco, a restricted free agent with a cap hit of only $900,000, helps boost the Blackhawks depth while not costing too much in the process. The general consensus on the 2017 NHL Entry Draft is that it’s weaker than normal – the Blackhawks were able to acquire a player that they were high for cheap who wouldn’t affect their cap situation very much, while also having the opportunity to retain him beyond this season. Rental players aren’t usually restricted free agents, but in the case of Jurco, the Blackhawks will get to negotiate with him without the threat of him leaving for another team.
Hinostroza Sent to Rockford
The Blackhawks also announced that Vinnie Hinostroza was being sent down to the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League to make room for Jurco on the roster. At just 22 years old, Hinostroza has already shown that he can play in the NHL. With the Blackhawks looking to compete deep into the playoffs, however, the addition of Jurco is a welcome one. In 48 games with Chicago this season, Hinostroza has scored six goals and 14 points in primarily a bottom-six role. The Illinois-native tallied one assist in three games
In 48 games with Chicago this season, Hinostroza has scored six goals and 14 points in primarily a bottom-six role. The Illinois-native tallied one assist in three games with Rockford this season and will get a chance to fine-tune his game in the AHL should the Blackhawks need to call him back up. While Hinostroza would certainly prefer to play in the NHL, this assignment will give him a chance to play more meaningful minutes at this point in his development.