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MAIN CAMP: Jurco proving to be 'intriguing' option for Tippett

Tomas Jurco continued his strong Main Camp Thursday versus the Jets with a three-point night, becoming an 'intriguing guy' for Oilers Head Coach Dave Tippett

by Paul Gazzola /

EDMONTON, AB - Tomas Jurco is making the most of Oilers Main Camp.

The forward had himself a three-point night in the Oilers 5-3 win over the Jets on Thursday when he slotted in on the top line with Connor McDavid and James Neal, netting two goals and one assist.

The Slovak reaped the reward of a Jets turnover for his first, depositing Neal's net-front pass behind a sprawled-out Connor Hellebuyck. 

In the second period on the power play, Jurco lost the handle of the puck on the goal-line but Neal was able to shift it over to McDavid on the wing for an easy tap-in.

Then in the third on the man advantage once again, Jurco accepted a pass from Leon Draisaitl and did the rest of the work, cutting to the net from outside and beating Hellebuyck under his arm.

Video: RAW | Tippett 09.27.19

The two-time American Hockey League Calder Cup champion is happy with how he's competed and wants to continue taking advantage of his chances.

"The last few seasons I spent in the NHL, there weren't many times when I had a chance like this," Jurco, who skated with Sam Gagner and Gaëtan Haas on Friday, said. 

"That was huge for me. I enjoyed every minute of it."

Oilers Head Coach Dave Tippett is still looking at what some other forwards can provide to the lineup. The bench boss replaced Jurco with Anton Burdasov on the top line at Friday's skate to get a glimpse of what the Russian can do himself.

However, Jurco's performance has not been lost on the Oilers coach.

"He's an intriguing guy," said Tippett. "We need to add depth scoring in our lineup. He's a guy who's come in and offered a little bit of that."

Tippett was impressed by Jurco's pair of goals on Thursday. The second-round selection has registered two multi-point efforts in the pre-season, compiling five points in three games.

"He's come in, he's got good skill, he thinks the game pretty well," Tippett continued. "You see the two goals he got last night. One's a bang-bang play but the other one's a heck of a move."

Video: RAW | Tomas Jurco 09.27.19

Tippett also alluded to why Jurco game hasn't translated as well in the past. The coach believes the 26-year-old is becoming a well-rounded forward.

"Early in his career, if you had to weigh him on one side or the other, it was the offensive side. If he didn't produce offensively, he didn't contribute," Tippett said.

"Now, I think he's got the mindset that he needs to be a good two-way player. He has to be able to play in his own end and be able to play against top players. Hopefully, he can complement good players with his skill level."

Jurco will get another chance to play Saturday when the Oilers end their exhibition schedule against the Flames in Calgary.

"I was just doing my part," said Jurco. 

"Working hard, focusing on my game and trying not to think about stuff going on outside of hockey. I think it worked pretty well for me. I'm going to keep doing that." 

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