The New Jersey Devils announced Saturday that center Jiri Tlusty had a torn ligament in his right wrist that he’s had to have surgery on. He’s expected to miss three-to-four months of play.
The Devils have been bombarded by injuries the entire season, so while playing without Tlusty is not a new situation, it’s an ongoing struggle as the team attempts to maintain a loose grip on the second wild card position in the Eastern Conference. At 53 points, they’re tied with Boston who holds the top wild card position, but there are four teams within three points of the Devils and Bruins.
This could be bad news for Tlusty’s hopes for next season. The 27-year-old couldn’t find a deal through much of the offseason. He didn’t sign with the Devils until mid-September and got a one-year, $800,000 deal, which was a significant step down from the $2.95 million deal he was on the season before.
Despite getting dealt at the deadline last year, he had 14 goals and 31 points. He also had done a good job driving play in Carolina for the 52 games he was there. His 4.8% CF%Rel there was an impressive mark on a team that controls play as well as Carolina does. Yet he couldn’t find a deal.
Come July, he’ll be coming off surgery and a year older having scored just two goals and four points through 30 games with the Devils. To boot, his solid possession play didn’t continue this season.
It could spell another long wait for a contract and maybe having to settle for a PTO. Though last summer, Tlusty didn’t want to take a PTO. His agent said that he’d received multiple PTO offers but refused because he had KHL contract offers and didn’t want to enter camp on a tryout.
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.