Thanks to the over 80 of you who voted in our poll! We combined your votes and the writers’ votes and our Top 25 Under 25 countdown continues today with #21:
#21: Calvin Thurkauf
21st out of 34 eligible players
Writers’ Vote: 23rd
Readers’ Vote: 21st
Highest Placement: 5th (1 vote)
Most Common Placement: 20th (5 votes)
Birthdate: June 27, 1997
Birthplace: Zug, Switzerland
Weight: 212 lbs.
Position: Left Wing/Center
Acquired: Drafted by Columbus in Round 7 of the 2016 NHL Draft (#185 overall)
Hindered by injury, Thurkauf had a less-than-impactful 2018-19 season — he managed only two points in 26 games played with the Monsters. However, Thurkauf proved his potential in the prior season, banking 24 points in the AHL in the 2017-18 season. With one year remaining in his contract with the Jackets, Thurkauf has plenty of space to grow and will face pressure to prove his worth to the organization before his future with the team can be determined.
Elaine Shircliff had some more insight as to how Thurkauf could improve in order to be an asset to the Jackets:
At the end of the 2017-18 season, Calvin Thurkauf told me in a post game presser that he needed to become more physical and learn to create plays better. After a summer of hard work, Thurkauf came back to Cleveland leaner, stronger, faster, and smarter.
Despite taking his game to the next level, Thurkauf couldn’t get the scoring monkey off his back. As things started to click for Thurkauf and his linemates the injury bug hit at the end of December, forcing him to take a three month hiatus from the game. Once he was cleared to play, Thurkauf wasn’t quite himself yet. Thurkauf definitely needs to take this summer to work on strengthening the weak parts of his body.
However, In my opinion, I strongly believe part of his scoring woes stems from the fact the Monsters continue to play him as a winger on the bottom two lines. The Blue Jackets drafted him based on his skill sets as a center. Yet, the organization continues to play him as a winger. Thurkauf could be a strong center if they allow him to take on that role.
Assuming Thurkauf stays healthy, his success this upcoming season will be dependent on his ability to hit his stride as a winger, or perhaps find an opening as a center and play to the strengths for which he was drafted. Hopefully, Thurkauf’s 2018-19 season was an anomaly and he is able to relocate the rhythm he established in 2017-18 as an offensive producer.