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92 Days Until The Season Begins

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
7 months ago
Throughout the summer and into the fall, we’ll be counting down the days until the Edmonton Oilers begin their 2023-24 season with a daily trip down memory lane.
With 92 days left until the Edmonton Oilers season starts, let’s take a look at a player who wore that jersey number — Tomas Jurco.

An Edmonton Journal article written by Terry Jones on July 2nd, 2019 details the Oilers free agent signings from the day before. Among the signees were forward Tomas Jurco.

PLAYER COUNTDOWN PRESENTED BY BETWAY


NHL teams host many cups of coffee players over the course of the years, and for the Edmonton Oilers, Tomas Jurco was another.
The Oilers signed him ahead of the 2019-20 season to a one year deal paying him jut $750,000 — a no-risk deal that, in the end, paid off for the team. To understand why, you first have to understand Tomas Jurco.
Drafted by Ken Holland’s Detroit Red Wings in the second round of the 2011 draft, Jurco struggled to make any sort of impact at the NHL level. He broke into the NHL in 2013-14 playing 36 games scoring eight goals and 15 points showing promise, but those were the most productive days of his time in the big league.
And after three and a half seasons that saw him score 15 goals and 39 points in 159 games with the Red Wings, he was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks for a third-round pick. But there, too, he failed to make the most of his time.
Like in Detroit, Jurco’s tenure in Chicago saw him bounce between the NHL and American League having far greater success at the lower levels and after the 2017-18 season, he was out of the NHL as a whole. Heading into the 2018-19 season he was without a home, and it wasn’t until January 2019 that he signed a contract: one with the AHL’s Springfield Thunderbirds.
His impact in Springfield was immediate scoring 10 points in 14 games, but in late February he was sent to the Charlotte Checkers as a part of a minor league swap. There, Jurco’s numbers got even better.
In the final 19 regular season games he scored eight goals and 17 points, and in an 18-game playoff run, added another seven goals and 18 points. Jurco seemed rejuvenated as he helped the Checkers win the AHL’s league championship, the Calder Cup.
When free agency opened on July 1st, the Oilers jumped out inking Jurco to his one-year contract in the hopes that his rejuvenation could spark NHL production, or at the very least, help guide the way in the AHL ranks. He made the team out of training camp but had an uneventful 12-game stretch where he scored two assists playing a mere 9:59 per night, even though he was posting some good underlying numbers.
In turn, the Oilers sent him down to the minor leagues, where with the Bakersfield Condors he found his stride again potting four goals and seven points in eight games. In that eighth game, however, Jurco would suffer an injury that would end his season.
Neither the Oilers or Condors would comment on his injury, but on December 22nd, 2019 — 11 days after he last played a game — Jurco announced via Instagram that he underwent hip surgery for an injury “which has been bothering (him) for awhile.”
The Oilers didn’t re-sign Jurco the following offseason as the winger instead signed with the Vegas Golden Knights playing eight games for the NHL squad and another 22 for their AHL affiliate.
In 2021-22, Jurco signed overseason in KHL with Barys Nur-Sultan scoring three goals and 11 points in 17 games, and this past season he scored 10 goals and 25 points in 32 games for the same league’s Kunlun Red Stars.

How many days are left until the Edmonton Oilers start the 2023-24 season? 92! Can you guess who will be featured in tomorrow’s countdown?

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Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@oilersnation.com.

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