Just two months after EV Zug of Switzerland’s NLA publicly lamented that alumnus Calvin Thurkauf was working on an extension with the Columbus Blue Jackets and was unlikely to play for the team again, the narrative has gone in the opposite direction. Zug has announced that Thurkauf has returned to his hometown team and will be ready to start the NLA season.
However, before EVZ fans get too excited or Blue Jackets fans get too worried, it is important to note that Zug’s press release specifically states that Thurkauf is only expected to begin the season in Zug. As an unsigned RFA, Thurkauf could not be loaned overseas like many other NHL prospects and instead needed to sign a contract. However that deal is only valid until Thurkauf signs an NHL or AHL contract for the 2020-21.
Thurkauf, 23, is likely to find work, if not with Columbus then elsewhere in the NHL, after recording 26 points in 53 AHL games this season. He also made his NHL debut, suiting up for three games with the Blue Jackets. A big, physical forward who has proven himself capable in the WHL and AHL, Thurkauf is likely to push for a fourth-line role if he returns to Columbus. Zug fans will simply have to enjoy the homecoming while it lasts.