As reported by TSN, the Toronto Maple Leafs dealt winger Jiri Tlusty to the Carolina Hurricanes for prospect Philippe Paradis.
Both players are former first round picks with Tlusty going 13th overall in 2006 while Paradis was Carolina's first pick (27th overall) in the 2009 Entry Draft.
Tlusty's development had seemingly stalled this season and he has been passed by Victor Stalberg and Christian Hanson on the depth chart in Toronto. Tlusty will be a Restricted free agent at the end of this season. Still, Carolina picks up a 21 year old with considerable upside.
Tlusty was heralded on draft day as a surefire NHLer because of his considerable skating ability and willingness to go to high-traffic areas on the ice.
"He has some leadership experience as he captained the Czech Under-18 team to a 2006 World Under-18 Championship. A strong skater, Tlusty is also a hard worker. Defense and positional play are areas for improvement. (8.0C)"(HockeysFuture)
However, it is questionable if he will ever capitalize on his offensive potential to become a top level forward at the NHL level.
Coming back the other way is intriguing 18 year old prospect Philippe Paradis. Although drafted as a centre, Paradis projects as physical scoring winger at the NHL level. Paradis shows a much higher degree of 'truculence' than Tlusty as evidenced by his 144PIM in 66gp last year. He has struggled to find the net with consistency this year with 19pts in 26gp but is young and still 5th in team scoring.
The Hockey's Future scouting report on Paradis reads: "A mixture of physical presence and scoring skill, Paradis is an attractive prospect. He possesses a hard shot and has the ability to make room for himself and his teammates on the ice. Paradis isn't a player to back down from a challenge. Already an intriguing medley of grit and ability, if Paradis gets faster and stronger, he could become a dominant force in the QMJHL. (7.0C)"-HockeysFuture
Paradis offers a lot more size and grit than Tlusty, albeit with the drawbacks of being less league-ready and having less offensive upside.
I see this as a win for both teams, as Tlusty had obviously not impressed Brian Burke in Toronto but gets a fresh start and a very good opportunity in Carolina. In following the "Fletcher pattern" and trading another former first rounder, Burke actually gets very good value (unlike Lee Stempniak) and a solid prospect to boot. There are murmurs that a draft pick also packed up and moved to Toronto but I have yet to confirm this. If an additional pick heads to Toronto, then I think this sways the trade from even to in Burke's favour. But in this early stage its safe to say that both teams got something they wanted. I like this move from a Carolina perspective too as they struggle with some injuries to key performers and need to find someone to pick up the slack.