Jiri Tlusty was obtained by the Hurricanes in an early season trade in the 2009-10 season that saw former 1st round pick Philippe Paradis go to Toronto in return for Tlusty. After a 2009-10 season that saw both AHL and NHL time, Tlusty started the next season in the AHL but quickly made the jump to the NHL level. He went on to establish himself as a solid all-around complementary player capable of a scoring role next to elite players. Without ever really being considered a star, Jiri Tlusty ranks 12th (as of August 2015) on the Canes all-time leaderboard with 76 goals and 19th with 145 points. His plus 4 (+/-) is also a testament to his solid two-way play including on some Canes teams that failed to breakeven like he did.
The pinnacle of Tlusty’s Canes career was easily his 2012-13 campaign. That season he played on what was arguably the highest power scoring line in Canes history. In a lockout-shorted 48-game season, Jiri Tlusty notched a spectacular 23 goals and also picked up 15 assists. The totals were dampened only by the shortened season and an inexplicable ability for the same set of players to score on the power play which should have been even easier. Because of the mitigating factors, I am not sure Canes fans appreciate the magnitude of Tlusty’s goal scoring that season. He scored at an elite level both historically for the Canes and against the entire league that season. Had he played an entire 82-game season and maintained his pace, he was on target to finish at or near 40 goals. Only Jeff O’Neill and Eric Staal (twice) have reached that level in a Hurricanes uniform. He finished tied for second place in the entire NHL in even strength goals scored behind only Jonathan Toews and tied with an impressive who’s who of goal scorers in Steven Stamkos, John Tavares and Jakub Voracek. It is by virtue of his spectacular 2012-13 season and a solid history as a top 6 Canes forward that Jiri Tlusty is amongst the Canes NHL greats.