You simply have to love a feel good story like this one.
For fans of the Chicago Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings the tale of veteran forward Tomas Jurco is something of a frustrating one. A once promising forward Jurco never really lived up to the potential he showed at his peak, although we would come to learn that a debilitating back injury likely played a significant factor in his struggles at times. In fact that back injury became so bad that the veteran forward believed that his career as a professional in the National Hockey League was effectively over.
As a result of his injuries and the toll that they took on his body Jurco spent the entire 2018 - 2019 season playing in the American Hockey League, however that is where things would change drastically for him. Jurco underwent back surgery, a problem that Jurco claims one doctor had told him would be career ending, and then he returned to action on the 3rd of January. From that moment forward it seemed like Jurco had once again found himself, and after a trade to the Charlotte Checkers it seemed to many like they were looking at a player that had been completely transformed.
Although we only have a limited sample size to go on during his time with the Checkers of the American Hockey League, the performance from Jurco was night and day when compared to what he had been able to produce prior to surgery. In 19 regular season games with Charlotte Jurco would record 8 goals and 9 assists for a total of 17 points, and he would only elevate his game in the playoffs. Through the 18 playoff games he played on his championship run with the Checkers Jurco would record 7 goals and 11 assists for 18 points. A point per game pace in the playoffs, even at the American Hockey League level, is sure to raise some eyebrows and it seems Jurco believes that as well.
According to a report from the National Hockey League's own Patrick Williams it is "definitely looking like he could be back in the NHL next season." Williams got to watch Jurco's comeback up close and personal and if anyone would know just how dramatic his turn around has been it would be Williams. It seems likely that there will be a path back to the NHL for Jurco and with his contract set to expire at the end of this season his options will be wide open as well.
Photo Credit: Daniel Lea/CSM/Zuma