TORONTO – The Toronto Maple Leafs traded AHL forward Jiri Tlusty to the Carolina Hurricanes for prospect Philippe Paradis on Thursday.
The deal betwen the NHL’s bottom two teams is an exhange of first-round draft picks – Tlusty was taken 13th overall in 2006 while Paradis was selected 27th last June.
Tlusty has appeared in 74 career NHL games for Toronto over the past three seasons. Even though he’ll initially report to Carolina’s AHL affiliate in Albany, he could find himself playing for the last-place Hurricanes soon.
“This trade gives us an opportunity to pick up a young, skilled forward who is further along in his development, albeit still in the development phase,” Carolina GM Jim Rutherford said in a statement. “We feel that Jiri has a chance to be with the Hurricanes sooner than Philippe, who is a good, but still very young prospect.”
Paradis is in his third season with Shawinigan of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The 18-year-old centre is listed at six-foot-two, 205 pounds – attributes that no doubt caught the eye of Leafs GM Brian Burke.
In 26 games this season, Paradis has 19 points (8-11) and 43 penalty minutes.
The 21-year-old Tlusty has spent most of the year with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies, where he had eight goals and 15 points in 19 games.
His departure sheds light on the difficulty Toronto has had drafting and developing players over the last 15 years. Only two of the team’s first-round picks currently remain in the system and they were made the last two years – Luke Schenn (2008) and Nazem Kadri (2009).