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I hate you, Toronto, ON • Canada • 27 Years Old • Male
Jiri Tlusty.

Since the 20 year-old was drafted 13th overall in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, Leafs fans have had high hopes that Tlusty would be a diamond in the rough, and would eventually play a crucial role in the Leafs' top-six.

However, Tlusty has struggled somewhat at the NHL level, posting a disappointing 10 goals and 20 points in 72 games played. But, it's not as if Tlusty has been given ample opportunity to shine, as he has been forced to play bottom-line minutes throughout his tenure with Maple Leafs thus far. Considering the type of game he plays, which does not include a robust defensive style, it's no wonder he hasn't progressed.

As soon as Tlusty was sent down to the Toronto Marlies last season, he flourished under the increased ice-time and responsibility. In fact, he ended up producing 25 goals and 66 points in 66 games played. It's also worth mentioning that he scored 5 goals and 6 points in one of those games as well. Even taking a look at his stats in the 2007-08 season with the Marlies, the then 19 year-old posted 7 goals and 18 points in 14 games played. There's no denying that, when given sufficient ice-time to produce, the Czech native is capable of posting points.

The question now is whether he is capable of translating these stats to the NHL or not. Taking into consideration the Leafs are in the rebuilding phase, I'd say next season will finally determine Tlusty's future with the Buds. Head coach Ron Wilson is aware that he's coming off an impressive season with the Marlies, so you can bet he'll give Tlusty an opportunity to crack the Leafs' top-six come training camp. However, Tlusty may find the task a little more difficult this time around, as there are a fresh new crop of players competing for the same role. Perhaps this is exactly what is needed, however, as the Leafs can now strain the less competitive players from the competitive ones.

While Tlusty lacks your prototypical "Burke-type player" tag, he's still got the potential to become an effective second-line scoring forward in the NHL. He lacks the defensive game to make him a two-way forward, but his speed, playmaking and goal-scoring abilities could make him a valuable commodity to any team looking for an offensive-minded player. And if you think Burke won't hesitate to trade Tlusty based off his style, you're wrong. Sure, Burke loves the sandpaper, grit and toughness implemented to his line-up, but he also understands that offensive players are a necessity if any has aspirations to eventually win the Stanley Cup. After all, he was involved in the Mike Cammalleri sweepstakes on July 1st, was he not?

Personally, I think Tlusty will crack the Leafs' top-six from get-go, and will surprise many observers throughout the season.

Prediction: Tlusty produces 18 goals, 51 points next season.

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Filed Under:   Leafs   Tlusty  
July 4, 2009 3:30 PM ET | Delete
July 4, 2009 6:08 PM ET | Delete
i think tyler bozak is gonna be the dark horse but if tlusty was to play on the 2nd line i think 51 pts is about right Hagman,Grabovski,Kulemin...Tlusty,Bozak,Poni
July 4, 2009 6:39 PM ET | Delete
Man sajus there is only one Canadian in that lineup! AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!But in all seriousness the Leafs will be a good team, the scoring was not an issue it was keeping pucks out of the net and if Toskala can some back and have a solid season the playoffs are not out of the question. Lets hope for good things huh!
July 4, 2009 7:15 PM ET | Delete
im not a toskala fan at all the reason why burke is going after the monster so hard is this will be toskala's last season as a leaf
July 4, 2009 11:19 PM ET | Delete
It appears Tlusty and Grabs will be our go to offensive forwards next season. Not much we can do about it unless something big is coming from BB. Put him in the top 6 and let's see what we get. If he plays a full season with the Leafs, might be able to get 25 goals 60-65 points out of him. That's of course if we lean on him in all offensive situations.
July 4, 2009 11:19 PM ET | Delete
Message Posted
July 5, 2009 3:35 AM ET | Delete
check out the new blog concerning the leafs and who is available during free agency 2010 and 2011 ...http://my.hockeybuzz.com/blog.php?user_id=65946
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