Columbus Blue Jackets draft pick and prospect Calvin Thurkauf has signed a long-term extension that will make him a part of HC Lugano through the 2028-29 season, according to the team. The deal will keep Thurkauf at home in his native Switzerland for the foreseeable future and likely closes the book on his potential as a future piece of the Blue Jackets build.
Thurkauf was originally a seventh-round selection of Columbus out of the Kelowna Rockets organization back in 2016. Thurkauf returned to Kelowna after being drafted, breaking out with 33 goals and 37 assists in 60 games for the Rockets in 2016-17, turning pro that offseason. The forward spent three seasons in the Columbus organization, primarily appearing as a member of the AHL’s Cleveland Monsters, putting up 22 goals and 30 assists in 154 games. Though Thurkauf held his own, it wasn’t quite the impact many had hoped for after his impressive run in juniors. Still, it was enough to earn an NHL debut, getting into three games with the Blue Jackets during the 2019-20 season.
Following that season, Thurkauf would head back home, signing with Zug EV, his hometown team. Thurkauf was again solid, now in the Swiss league, putting up five points in 22 games. Ahead of 2021-22, Thurkauf moved on to Lugano, but broke out with 16 goals and 19 assists in 50 games. That effort was enough to help him ink this long-term extension. Though it likely forecloses his NHL career, at least for a while, the contract does give Thurkauf security and the chance to be an impact player in his home country.