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Wings get draft pick, Jurco gets change of scenery

Detroit receives third-round pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji / DetroitRedWings.com

DETROIT - For Tomas Jurco, a change of scenery was likely the best scenario.

On Friday, the Red Wings accommodated Jurco's wish, sending him to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for a third-round pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.

"Obviously, things haven't worked out in Detroit the last couple of months," Wings general manager Ken Holland told Mlive.com. "He's been very frustrated and requested a change of scenery and his agent has been calling me. His contract was up and we didn't know if he was intending on staying with us. It's a great opportunity for Tomas in Chicago and we move on."

The Wings originally selected Jurco in the second round, 35th overall, in the 2011 draft and he was set to become a restricted free agent after the season.

Jurco started the season on long-term injured reserve because of offseason back surgery and when he returned, he wasn't able to gain enough traction to stay in the lineup.

"I think in a lot of ways guys need different opportunities," Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said on a conference call. "It doesn't always work out in every place and I think a fresh start is going to be great for Tomas."

Jurco had been a healthy scratch for the Wings in 22 of the last 30 games.

In 16 games this season, Jurco had not recorded a point and was minus-8.

Ideally, Jurco will be able to find a spot among the talented forward corps of the Blackhawks.

"He's a big kid, he's about 6-foot-2, he's got a lot of skill and speed," Bowman said. "He plays a style that I think works very well with the way we play and we're excited about his contributions here and the potential for what he can become when he gets acclimated. Obviously it's going to take some time. We're going to be patient with him but we really think there's a good fit there looking at his skills and the style of hockey that we play."

The native of Kosice, Slovakia will join two of his countrymen on the Blackhawks, Marian Hossa and Richard Panik.

Jurco has long been an admirer of Hossa.

Interestingly, Panik was in a similar situation in Toronto a season ago to the one that Jurco was in with Detroit.

This season Panik has 16 goals and 16 assists in 61 games, 15 points better than in 2014-15 with the Maple Leafs, when he had 17 points in 76 games.

"You don't really want to compare players because they're not the exact same," Bowman said. "But I think there's some similarities there. Similar skillset. Tomas comes to us with good offensive imagination. He's a very creative player. He's got good skills and good speed. He's a big kid. It's not just from Richard Panik but we've seen it from other players before and even players in our system. Sometimes they just don't work out for whatever reason and they need a different opportunity."

As for the Wings, Holland has been on the phone quite a bit, both with the agents of the players who will be unrestricted free agents after the season and with other general managers.

"I've had lots of conversations this week but you never know until a deal is done," Holland said.

The trade deadline is March 1.

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