With the Wings’ first pick of this year’s NHL Entry draft they selected right winger Tomas Jurco of Slovakia.
Jurco, who played for Saint John in the QMJHL, was the 20th player ranked by NHL Central Scouting after being ranked 24th at the midterm. He’s 6-2, 187 pounds and shoots left.
NHL Central Scouting’s Chris Bordeleau said, “He’s a very good skater with size and excellent puck skills. He has all the tools of a first-round draft pick.”
Saint John head coach Gerard Gallant said, “He does different things at practice some guys would view it as being cocky, but Tomas does it because he wants to score a goal doing it. I just tell him to do what he feels comfortable doing. We’re not here to show up anybody, but if that’s the move you think you could score a goal with, do it. He’s done pretty well in shootouts … he has stick handling and eye coordination to make those great plays. He’s a big-bodied guy with a great skill level and competes really hard.”
Gallant is a former Red Wing.
Here are some notes from nhl.com
• At the 2011 Memorial Cup, he had a team-leading and tournament-tying four goals in four games helping Saint John became the first team from the Maritime Provinces to win the tournament.
• Jurco helped Saint John to the 2011 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League championship, recording 18 points (6-12–18) in 19 games. During the regular season, the Sea Dogs tied the QMJHL record for most wins in a season with 58 and went undefeated at home in regulation (32-0-1-1) to enter the 2011 playoffs as the top-seed in the QMJHL.
• He is one of nine Saint John Sea Dogs on the Central Scouting rankings list, which also includes two of his frequent linemates – Jonathan Huberdeau (No. 3 ranked) and Zack Phillips (No. 15 ranked). All three finished the season with seven game-winning goals.
• Jurco represented Slovakia at the 2011 World Junior Championships, recording a goal in six games with an even plus-minus rating.
• His older sister, Petra, was a member of Slovakia’s Olympic women’s team at the 2010 Olympics; both players wear the number 13 — “I feel better with 13. I feel like I’m home.” He got his start in hockey at five when his parents tried to sign his sister up to play.
• A YouTube sensation, he has several videos showcasing his stickhandling tricks and shootout moves online that have been viewed more than 150,000 times.