Pittsburgh Penguins: 5 Potential Free Agent Targets

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Mar 24, 2015; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Winnipeg Jets forward

Jiri Tlusty

(91) skates against the Vancouver Canucks during the second period at Rogers Arena. The Vancouver Canucks won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Jiri Tlusty

I was a bit baffled when the Winnipeg Jets traded for Jiri Tlusty this past season, as he doesn’t quite fit the mold for their style of play.  In turn, the Jiri Tlusty experiment didn’t pan out very well and he’s likely to hit UFA status on July 1.

Tlusty is essentially the opposite of Matt Beleskey, but still a good fit for a team like the Pittsburgh Penguins.  He’s been noted as a soft player that lacks the willingness to hit the dirty areas, but he’s a strong skater, creative, and a good finisher.  The fact that he can play both wings is a bonus, as I could see him fitting on the left side of Sidney Crosby with Patric Hornqvist playing on the right.

The biggest concern I have with Jiri Tlusty is that he has boom or bust written all over him.  He’s fairly reliable defensively, but he isn’t physical enough to be in a shutdown role.  If he isn’t scoring he isn’t going to warrant the $4 million+ that you’ll likely have to pay him.

The Pittsburgh Penguins were rumored to be interested in acquiring Tlusty this past season.  Jim Rutherford obviously knows him very well having been the GM in Carolina. This is going to be a guy to watch this summer.