April 23, 2013; Raleigh, NC, USA; Carolina Hurricanes center Jiri Tlusty (19) carries the puck against the New York Islanders at the PNC center. The Hurricanes defeated the Islanders 4-3 in a shoot out. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

What To Expect From Jiri Tlusty Next Season

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Jiri Tlusty had an amazing and unexpected 2012-13 season, scoring 23 goals, good for fifth in the league, and creating one of the best lines in the NHL with Alexander Semin and Eric Staal, but the question now is, will that play transition into next season?

Tlusty originally started to play well towards the end of the 2011-12 season and ended up with 17 goals and 19 assists. It was a breakout year for the Czech Republic native, who had problems scoring since his second year with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

With the NHL in a lockout, Tlusty played overseas for Kladno in the Czech league with Jaromir Jagr and Tomas Plekanec, where he really started to break out, scoring wise, putting up 23 points in 24 games. When Tlusty returned after the lockout, the scoring transitioned into the NHL. Playing overseas may have given Tlusty some confidence and after this season, Tlusty should have even more.

Alexander Semin (left), Jiri Tlusty (middle) and Eric Staal (right) formed one of the top lines in hockey last season. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The left-winger should also be on Staal and Semin’s line again, which will help Tlusty continue to score. A full training camp should also help the trio create more chemistry.

But Tlusty was also an inconsistent scorer. His longest goal streak was three games and in the last 13 games of the season, Tlusty scored in three. In all three of those games Tlusty had two goals. Of course, it’s nice for Tlusty to have those games, but the Hurricanes may want to see Tlusty score over multiple games, rather than having hot and cold games.

At the rate Tlusty was scoring last season, he would have put up close to 40 goals in a full 82-game season. It would be surprising if the 25-year-old could keep that pace up over a full season.

For the 2013-14 season, do not set the bar too high for Tlusty. He will most likely not be a top-five scorer in the league, but 20-30 goals next season should not be a ridiculous amount to expect. Tlusty should also help expand on the success the first line had from this past season.

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Tags: Alexander Semin Carolina Hurricanes Eric Staal Jiri Tlusty

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