When the Carolina Hurricanes traded Philippe Paradis for Jiri Tlusty in 2009, it was not a blockbuster trade. Both players were first round picks that hadn’t made their mark in the NHL yet. The young Czech forward had been damaged by injuries through the years and was never able to stick with the NHL until recently. While Paradis has continued to play in the AHL, Tlusty stepped up last year to play with the Hurricanes.
Tlusty was one of the team’s better forwards last year placing fourth on the team in points with 36. Tlusty began the season on the third line in a defensive role. It wasn’t until he was promoted to play on the first line with Eric Staal that he started putting up points. After Staal’s slow start, playing with Tlusty energized him, and he put up another great season. The two players developed a nice chemistry the coaches hoped would continue this year.
Tlusty has fit well on the Hurricanes top line this season too. He is third on the team with 15 points in only 19 games. Tlusty has been a perfect fit to play with Staal and Alex Semin this year with all three players having at least a plus-11 plus minus.
Tlusty is extremely valuable to the line, because he is also very defensively responsible. This lets Staal and Semin cheat offensively if they need to. Tlusty is also used regularly on the penalty kill and power play. With Tlusty’s combined offensive and defensive skills, he has become a legitimate top line forward for Carolina. Jim Rutherford made a fantastic trade stealing Tlusty from the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Hurricanes general manager should be given credit for this great move.