Tomas Jurco knows he has more to give offensively, and the young Detroit Red Wings forward hopes to show that this season under first-year NHL coach Jeff Blashill.
Jurco, who was a point-per-game player in 32 games in the American Hockey League in 2013-14 (13 goals, 19 assists) with Grand Rapids and had eight goals in 36 games for the Red Wings, was limited to three goals and 18 points in 63 games in his first full NHL season. He had a goal and an assist in seven Stanley Cup Playoff games as the Red Wings lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference First Round.
"Providing more offense is the main thing for me," Jurco told the Red Wings website. "I've been working hard all summer, to get stronger, faster, so I think it's going to help me. I'm excited and hopefully I'm going to have a good season."
The 22-year-old has experience playing under Blashill, who won 134 games in three seasons coaching Grand Rapids, and understands what his coach expects.
"I think Blash wants me to work hard, but I think Blash knows what kind of player I was before," Jurco said. "He had a chance to see it, so he knows I can be a different player, too. I'm not saying he's going to put me on the power play and expect me to score 30 goals but I think he wants me to work hard and work my way up to maybe first three lines so I can provide offense. It's going to be up to me. Just the good thing is Blash knows I can do it."
The first step for Jurco is showing he is capable of handling more ice time and a greater role in the NHL. He averaged 11:30 per game last season, but frequently played under 10 minutes down the stretch as Detroit battled for playoff position and eclipsed that mark once in the playoffs.
"I think it was one of the biggest factors for me," Jurco said. "It was hard for me to not be scoring as much as I was used to before and not playing as much, so of course when you do that for a few months it's hard to keep your confidence high. Of course it was one of the factors, but it's a new season and I'm ready for it."