Jets trade multiple mid-round picks for Hurricanes’ Jiri Tlusty; place Blake Wheeler on IR

The Winnipeg Jets have further added to their rapidly atrophying forward depth by acquiring Jiri Tlusty in a trade with the Carolina Hurricanes. 

Tlusty, 26, is a pending unrestricted free agent who has managed 13 goals and 23 points for the Hurricanes. In exchange, the Jets will send Winnipeg a third-round draft pick in in 2016 and a conditional sixth-round draft choice in 2015.

Unfortunately in the same press release in which they announced the deal, the Jets also announced that they’ve placed forward Blake Wheeler on injured reserve. It’s like the Jets’ forward depth is eroding as quickly as Kevin Cheveldayoff can make trades to supplement it…

It’s probably not a coincidence that the Tlusty deal was announced moments after the Toronto Maple Leafs and Pittsburgh Penguins completed a deal for Daniel Winnik. Presumably the price that Pittsburgh paid – a second-round and a fourth-round draft pick – was too high for Cheveldayoff’s blood. If Tlusty was Winnipeg’s more affordable backup plan for Winnik, that seems sensible. 

Though he isn’t exactly a sexy name, Tlusty is a versatile and capable middle-six forward. The Czech-born forward can lineup at both centre and wing, and while he only has a neutral impact on puck possession at 5-on-5, he at least produces offense at the rate of a below average second-line caliber forward. 

Signed to a deal that carries a $2.95 million salary cap hit, Tlusty is a no-risk proposition. His deal will expire at the end of this season, so he’s got a lot to play for and he doesn’t represent a long-term liability for Winnipeg. 

Adding Tlusty is also a particularly high-leverage addition for a Jets team that’s now lost three of their four best wingers this month (Evander Kane, Mathieu Perreault and Wheeler)…