Today’s feature Friday is Hurricanes’ left-winger Jiri Tlusty. During this past off-season, Tlusty signed a one-year, $525,000 contract to stay with the Hurricanes after finishing a one-year deal last year. This season admittedly wasn’t one of the brightest for Tlusty, as he only competed in 57 games registering 12 points (6G, 6A) and 14 PIM’s. Hurricanes’ General Manager Jim Rutherford still decided to take a chance with Tlusty and keep him on the roster. When Tlusty officially re-signed with the club over the summer, Rutherford said, “Jiri is still a very young player with an upside…after dealing with some tough injuries, we feel he can play an important role for the Hurricanes next season.” Caniacs hope that is the case, too. The full press release with Rutherford’s comments can be found here.
After being drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round in the 2006 NHL entry draft, his best season as a pro was notching 66 points (25G, 41A) for the AHL’s Toronto Marlies in the 2008-2009 season. After that season, however, his highest point total for a season was 36 points in 2009-2010, when the Hurricanes traded for him and he split time between Toronto (pre-trade), the Hurricanes and the Albany River Rats. During that year, Tlusty had a 5-goal game for the Marlies, and the Hurricanes organization and fans are hoping to see some of that magic again this year. This is, of course, assuming Tlusty can stay injury-free.
Below are his highlight reel goals from that 5-goal game. This goal explosion against the Syracuse Crunch set a Marlies’ franchise record for most goals in a single game. Hurricanes fans will also recognize another name in the highlight package: Bates Battaglia.
Will Tlusty finally turn the corner after a few injury-plagued seasons? You would have to think that if he expects to reach that “next level” in his career, this year will need to be a huge step in that direction. Feel free to discuss your thoughts by adding a comment.