Jiri Tlusty has not had a good season – that much has been obvious. After a 23-goal season last year, a lot was expected from him. Tlusty was supposed to continue success on the first line giving the Carolina Hurricanes a lethal line that could compete with any other line in the NHL.
But that didn’t happen. Instead Tlusty couldn’t score for the first eight games, until finally netting two goals against the New York Islanders on Oct. 19. Things didn’t get much better from there as the 25-year-old jumped between lines and even spent some time on the fourth line. Trade rumors also started coming up about him.
Before Saturday’s game, Tlusty only had four goals on the season. But he has increased that to six after a two-goal showing against the Tampa Bay Lightning in what was arguable his strongest game of the season.
Now it’s time for Tlusty to continue that strong play. After the two-goal night against the Islanders, the Czech Republic native fell off again and couldn’t regain the skill and scoring touch he showed last season.
Tlusty also showed last season that he scores in bunches. Nine times he scored two 0r more goals in one game, which accounted for 19 of his 23 goals. It’s an odd stat for a scorer that finished in the top five in goals in the league, but the Hurricanes could use the scoring, even if it is sporadic.
After Saturday night, Tlusty should have gained confidence to play that strong again. He may not have the same linemates as last season, but Riley Nash and Patrick Dwyer have shown they can score also.
Nash and Dwyer play different games, which means that the former-Maple Leaf needs to change the way he plays also. That means working for the puck and creating more of a grinding game rather than a skill one.
I know this is difficult to ask of a player, but if Tlusty doesn’t change his game, the trade rumors will come about again and he may no longer be a Hurricane.