|Tlusty had 17 goals and 19 assists in 79 games this season. (Getty Images)|
The Carolina Hurricanes got ahead of the curve and re-signed a few of their free agents earlier this season, taking away the needless distraction as their season wore on. They did the same thing on Monday with one of their restricted free agents before the summer drama even has a chance to begin.
The 'Canes on Monday re-signed forward Jiri Tlusty to a two-year, $3.2 million contract now that his entry-level deal has run its course. The deal calls for $1.5 million in the first season, $1.7 million in the second season.
While I don't want to say he had a breakout season, the 24-year-old Tlusty had his best season in the NHL this year for the Hurricanes, scoring 17 goals and adding 19 assists to his total of 36 points. His role increased a bit as the season went along and obviously the 'Canes like what they saw.
"Sometimes we forget how young he is," GM Jim Rutherford told Chip Alexander of the News & Observer. "He's still a young player. There's still room for him to make an even bigger jump.
"He's battled some injuries and a part of that is because of the way he competes. I think he's capable of scoring 20 or more [goals] if he continues to compete as he has and stays healthy for 82 games."
It seems to defy logic a little bit when you step back and take in what the Hurricanes have done as a whole. They elected to keep around players like Tim Gleason and Tuomo Ruutu with new contracts instead of trading them. Typically a team that didn't meet expectations and missed the playoffs doesn't go out and re-sign all of its players, particularly when two of the players mentioned will turn 30 next season.
But Tlusty? That's not a signing that's going to meet many critics. A player that is approaching 20 goals for a reasonable price? Not bad.