When several 2011 NHL Mock drafts had the Detroit Red Wings selecting Tomas Jurco with the 24th overall pick I wasn't particularly excited about it. But using one of three second-round picks on the guy is something I can get on board with.
Coming into day two of the draft, a lot of people considered Jurco the be the most talented player left after Round 1, and Detroit pounced on him in their usual fashion. I'm not sure if Kenny Holland and Co. honestly that that Jurco would slip as far as he did, but trading their No. 24 pick worked out for them.
So what do the Red Wings add by selecting Jurco?
For one, they add a youtube superstar—before having ever played a game his selection of stick handling videos are approaching a half million views. And for two, they add a kid with the capability to break a game wide open with his tremendous skill set.
This is what I wrote about him in my mock draft (where I had him going in the last few picks of the first round):
"His talent is off the charts, his speed is dazzling and players that can change the momentum of a game with a dangle or top speed move are a rarity. When Jurco is going, he is hard to contain. But when he is off he is hardly noticeable."
He doesn't give up much size for his capabilities either, coming in at 6'2'' and is already pushing 200 pounds.
Jurco is a whirlwind of a player that can crush the confidence of defensemen with his weaving, hockey sense and ability to perform his wizardry and borderline acrobatics at high speeds. His cold streaks are suffocating at this point however, and his tendency to at times drop off the face of the planet is probably what kept him out of Round 1.
Lucky for Jurco, the Wings won't be relying on him to score on a nightly basis and can ride out these streaks should they persist throughout his career. If they don't persist though, Detroit just absolutely stole this player.
Obviously, there is a bit of risk involved here, but it's a very calculated one. Holland didn't give up any moving parts for Jurco. And the Wings have plenty of up and coming talent on the forward lines where if Jurco doesn't pan out then nothing is really lost.
He's a project kind of forward, but they all are in Detroit's system since they never, ever bring in players full time until they are ripe and beyond ready for NHL action.
Dream scenario here is that Jurco eventually makes the big club and watches how Pavel Datsyuk uses his hands and smarts to take over hockey games on a nightly basis, then decides to emulate him.
There may even be a year or two down the road where they cast their hocus pocus voodoo magic all over the ice together.
Wouldn't that be a site.
Regardless of how Turco turns out, Holland and the rest of Detroit's brass have shown why they stick at our near the top of the standings year in and year out—by making deft moves at the draft, and taking the most talented player available.
I for one am looking forward to seeing Jurco in Red and White and am stoked about this pick.