Much like a year ago when Carolina Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford opted to not qualify restricted free agent defenseman Brett Carson so the team could avoid a potentially binding arbitration award, the Canes have decided to not extend offers to forward Jiri Tlusty and Troy Bodie, meaning the duo will become unrestricted free agents as of July 1.
That doesn't necessarily mean the two forwards have played their final games as Hurricanes, as Rutherford mentions in this article on the team's Web site.Last season, Rutherford gave Tlusty a one-year, $500,000 deal that lowered the Czech forward's NHL salary significantly but assured him that he would not be subject to a two-way deal that would pay him less if he was assigned to the AHL.The 23 year old showed flashes of fulfilling the potential he had when Toronto selected him 13th overall in 2006, but injuries seemed to derail him any time he began to build confidence.
Tlusty was acquired from the Maple Leafs in December 2009 in exchange for 2008 first-round pick Philippe Paradis, who seemingly quickly fell out of favor with the Carolina brass. Tlusty was expected to battle for a top-nine spot among the forwards last season, but he averaged less than 10 minutes of ice time a game and finished the season with six goals and six assists in 57 games.
Bodie was claimed off waivers from Anaheim in November to add a physical presence on Carolina's fourth line. He did that, piling up 10 fighting majors in 50 games with the Canes, adding a goal and two assists. Bodie was in the final year of a two-year, two-way contract last season that paid him $500,000 in the NHL and $75,000 in the AHL. But he spent the last 13 games of the season in the press box as a healthy scratch, playing his final game of the season March 12.
Carolina still has interest in both players, but both players will be free to test the market Friday.