Former Leafs prospect budding in Carolina
In trading the prospect Dec. 3 2009, fellow general managers Brian Burke and Jim Rutherford agreed 2006 first-round pick Jiri Tlusty would not thrive in Toronto.
VIA The Toronto Star:
"(Tlusty) is a player who has a better chance to flourish in a smaller market," Hurricanes general manager Rutherford said in 2009. "It takes a certain type of character to flourish in Toronto. Some guys like it, some guys don't. It's something (Burke) and I talked about when we were making this deal."
The Maple Leafs gave Tlusty little time to develop - trading the Czech forward before his 22nd birthday - having played 74 games for the buds over a span of three seasons.
In a straight up deal, the Leafs shipped the forward to the Hurricanes for left wing Philippe Paradis, sacrificing Tlusty's potential offensive talent for a player more fitting of Burke's preference: bigger, tougher, not European.
Last year Tlusty played his first full NHL campaign, tallying a career high 36 points in 79 games for the Canes, earning a two-year, $3.2 million contract extension.
While Paradis has yet to make his NHL debut, slugging it out in the Chicago Blackhawks system, Tlusty now finds himself on Carolina's top line, skating with Eric Staal and Alex Semin.
With the help of his line mates, Tlusty exploded in a Feb. 11 game against the Islanders scoring two goals and two assists.
"What I like about it is the way they're playing," said Canes coach Kirk Muller.
"I know they're getting points, but they're playing the game the right way," he said of his team's top line.
Either Staal or Semin have an assist on all five of Tlusty's goals this season. The trio combines for 15 of the Hurricanes total 38 goals.
On pace to meet his career high mark of 36 points in the lockout shortened season, Tlusty joins a laundry list of prematurely dealt prospects.
The Leafs have emerged the winner of the Luke Schenn for James Van Riemsdyk trade, however deals involving first round picks Brad Boyes, Alex Steen, Tukka Rask, and now Jiri Tlusty, have left the Leafs empty handed and watching as their former prospects contribute elsewhere.
After being shutout 1-0 by Rask and the Bruins Feb. 2 at the Air Canada Centre, Tlusty notched an assist in a 4-1 Hurricanes victory Feb 4. on the road against the Leafs. He will look to give the Leafs yet another taste of Burke's impatience and extend his three game goal streak as they meet again tonight in Raleigh.
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