Now that Jordan Staal has returned from his broken leg suffered during the preseason, the Carolina Hurricanes are beginning to get healthy as a team and have somewhat of a kick in their step. Jordan performed very, very well last night against the Flyers for a player coming off of an injury of that magnitude. But that’s just my two cents. His return will certainly lead to more wins (and less of a chance to get the first overall pick in next year’s draft). I don’t know whether to be excited or depressed…
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Now I turn to back to mock trades.
This week’s subject is Jiri Tlusty. The 26 year-old Czech winger has had a resurgence of scoring this year after falling off of the map during last year’s campaign. He currently has 15 points (10 G, 5 A) while shuffling around between the top 3 forward lines. The Hurricanes acquired Tlusty from the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2009 in exchange for former first round pick Philippe Paradis. Tlusty has shown a strong chemistry level with Eric Staal and Alexander Semin in the past and is a very opportunistic scorer.
Tlusty would not garner nearly the same return as Eric Staal, but a contender would be very interested in more scoring depth and could offer the Hurricanes a deal they could not refuse. It is not likely that the Hurricanes would send Tlusty to another non-contender. It has also been reported that the Canes are in contract negotiations with the winger with the hopes of Tlusty signing a contract that benefits both parties. Tlusty signed a 1 year, $2.95 million contract in the offseason and could be due for a raise. GM Ron Francis will have to determine whether or not Tlusty is worth this raise or if the potential trade return is worth more to the organization.
Here are a few mock scenarios:
Bear with me here. Trading Tlusty will most likely garner a pick and/or a prospect. If he moves I see him staying in the East and going to a contender. Thus, the scenarios above.
Montreal is firing on all cylinders, but is still looking to improve. They also have the prospects and picks to send to Carolina for Tlusty’s services. He would slide in with the second or third line and add some scoring to an already powerful team. Nygren is a solid AHL prospect that could come back over from Sweden and play for Charlotte next year. He was drafted in the 4th round by the Habs in 2011. I would assume that the Canes would require a pick in return as well, in this case a second-rounder. That could drop to a third to complete the deal, though.
As a Canes fan, it is hard to have any dealings with the Capitals, but currently, they are a contender in the East. They would probably hold back on the value unless they truly need Tlusty. Kundratek, another defenseman, has cracked the Capitals roster twice, but spends the majority of his time with the Hershey Bears of the AHL. The Czech was drafted in the 3rd round by the Rangers in 2008. This would add more depth to the Canes’ defensive ranks. I can see the Caps being wary to add higher-value draft picks in this deal, so I included their third and fourth round picks in next year’s draft to sweeten the pot. The Canes’ fourth round pick in 2016 could complete the deal.
Finally, it is possible, yet unlikely, to acquire a first round pick in next year’s draft for Tlusty. A contender who wants to go deep in the playoffs could cough up the pick as it would fall within the last ten picks of the first round. In this case, I chose the Tampa Bay Lightning. Their roster is performing quite well, but has a couple lesser known and somewhat unproven forwards. Adding Tlusty could bolster their lineup even further. I originally had the Islanders here, but their 2015 first round pick was sent to the Sabres for Thomas Vanek in 2013. Another first round pick would assist the Hurricanes in rebuilding for next season.
I personally would like to bring back a first round pick for Jiri Tlusty, but I don’t see that happening. It is more likely that the Canes would receive a lower pick and a prospect. Tlusty will either be traded or garnered a contract prior to the deadline. If he does not accept the contract, I believe we will be saying goodbye to Jiri on March 2, 2015.