NHL Trade Deadline 2015: Top 5 Players the Penguins Should Target

4 of 6

3. Jiri Tlusty

Dec 2, 2014; Raleigh, NC, USA; Carolina Hurricanes forward

Jiri Tlusty

(19) skates against the Nashville Predators at PNC Arena. The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Nashville Predators 2-1. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

While Jiri Tlusty would be a more expensive option than the previously mentioned forwards (he carries a cap hit of $2.95 million, per Spotrac), the 26-year-old winger could see his game flourish with the Pens, much like the team’s other recent acquisitions.

After putting up 23 goals in the shortened 48-game 2012-13 season, and then 16 goals in 68 games last season (also a 20-goal pace when projected over a full 82 games), Tlusty has tallied 12 goals so far this season.

He’s a skilled forward who could come in and make an impact offensively – one the Pens would surely embrace considering the number of shutout losses they’ve suffered over the last few weeks.

The addition of Tlusty would provide Pittsburgh with even more options in terms of balancing out their offensive. He has the skill and experience to be a reliable top-six forward, meaning he could slot in beside Evgeni Malkin and Patric Hornqvist if Blake Comeau doesn’t look good enough there after he returns from his recent injury.

However, Tlusty could also skate on the Pens’ third line to give the team’s bottom-six a bit more offensive bite, forcing opposing defenses to give the third-line some respect rather than keying in on the top two lines alone as they have been.

Canes General Manager Ron Francis has discussed moving his pending UFA’s (which includes Tlusty) for roster players or draft picks, meaning the team certainly has an eye towards the future at the moment.

If the Pens were willing to part with one of their prized defensive prospects or picks for Tlusty, then Francis would probably bite, but the Pens would be wise to seek him out only if they believed there was a possibility to re-sign him this summer.

GM Jim Rutherford‘s longtime ties to the Hurricanes could also be instrumental in bringing Tlusty to town for a fair price.