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Pilot's Logbook: Jiri Tlusty

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As the off-season starts up we are reviewing the player's seasons. Today: The last of the Kladno Konnection with Jiri Tlusty.

J. Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports

Performance:

Jiri Tlusty was acquired for draft picks just before the trade deadline and joined the Kladno Konnection in Winnipeg when he met up with his childhood friends Ondrej Pavelec and Michael Frolik. Tlusty has been a good scorer in the NHL in past seasons, but during his time in Winnipeg he only shot 3.8%, which helps explains his low point totals on the Jets, but the important thing is he serves a purpose no matter where he is in the line-up.

Tlusty as a positive CorsiRel even though he played on the fourth line with two players who are either done or nearly done as hockey players. The fact that Tlusty pulled this off means he can probably be a fourth liner on any team because of his ability to drive play, even though that play driving is incremental at 1.7% better than his peers. Talking about Tlusty as a fourth liners is a disservice to his skill as a player though. He has consistently scored around 15 goals a season in his career and has been a consistent possession driver. He can be an effective fourth liner with those numbers.

Even if Tlusty gets over one million dollars, but plays on the fourth line that is money well spent. As Bruce McCurdy points out, having a fourth line that has a set job can help a team win if the rest of the team is built right around them. Even if he is not playing on a line alongside Mark Scheifele or Adam Lowry, Tlusty can still help them by easing the burden of zone starts for them simply by being able to help the fourth line handle them. Tlusty's ability to start in the defensive zone and still end up with a positive CorsiRel probably has to due with the fact that Tlusty has the skill skate the puck out of the defensive zone and into the offensive zone versus dumping it in and out, which is simply turning the puck over to the opposition and letting them come right back in without much resistance.

Much like Drew Stafford, Tlusty's goals for out-perform his Corsi For, though not as severely as Stafford. What is notable with Tlusty is his shots/60 is at the level of an average second liner. If the Jets keep him and play him on a lower line, his shots/60 will hopefully remain high, making him a very useful player for the Jets. This is what differentiates Tlusty from Slater and Thorburn. Tlusty is better in his unremarkable moments than Slater or Thorburn are in their most remarkable moments.

Future:

The Winnipeg Jets should try to retain Tlusty's services because of his versatility and skill. Giving a depth player term is not a good idea, but two to three years would not be ruinous for the Jets. Keeping Tlusty would mean having one less spot available for a young player in training camp, but it would ensure that there is one more bonafide NHLer in the line-up. The Jets just have to decide which is more important to them.