Tomas Fleischmann knew his goal wouldn’t be easy to achieve. He knew that if he wanted to accomplish his goal he would need to work harder than he has ever worked before. What was Tomas Fleischmann’s goal? Quite simple, make it to the National Hockey League. Growing up in Czechoslovakia, Tomas knew that he wanted to play professional hockey early on in his life. He joined HC Vitkovice, which is a hockey club in the Czech Republic. There he played in both the under 18 and under 20 league. While playing for HC Vitkovice, he turned into a fantastic young prospect. In 2002, Fleischmann got a taste of his first professional hockey while playing with third division team, HC Novy Jicin on an eight game loan.
That wasn’t the only successful thing that happened to Fleischmann in the year 2002. In the 2002 NHL Draft, he was selected in the 2nd round by the Detroit Red Wings. Realizing that he was one step closer in achieving his lifelong dream of becoming a NHL player, he quickly made the transition over quickly and emerged as not only a star player on the team but also as a leader, as he scored 71 points in only 65 games. He helped the Warriors reach the second round of the playoffs before being eliminated by the Brandon Wheat Knights. In his second season, he improved his offensive number by scoring 30 goals and accumulating an incredible 75 in just 60 games.
On February 27, 2004, Fleischmann realized what it was like to be traded. The Detroit Red Wings sent the rights of Fleischmann and draft picks to the Washington Capitals for defensemen Robert Lang. Fleischmann spent his first professional season with the Portland Pirates, scoring only 19 points in 53 games. The Pirates were one of the top NHL affiliates for the Washington Capitals, before the Capitals reached an agreement with the Hershey Bears. The decision was based on location, as the Hershey Bears were located closer to home. Despite playing 14 games for the Capitals, Fleischmann spent most of the 2005-2006 season with the Hershey Bears. Even though Fleischmann failed to make the opening day roster for the Capitals in the 2006-2007 season, he earned a call up to the Capitals roster after dominating on the Bears, scoring 51 points in only 45 games.
Before the start of the 2007-2008 season, Fleischmann was resigned by the Caps to a one year deal. In his first full season in the NHL, Fleischmann was able to score 30 points in 75 games. The Capitals liked what they got out of Tomas and as a result, the two sides reached an agreement to extend his contract another two years. After coming off an impressive year and a fresh new contract, he improved his number in the 08-09 campaign, scoring 19 goals and 37 points.
Fleischmann returned to the Czech Republic following the season where he was struck with horrible news. It was discovered that during the flight back to his country, he contracted a blood clot in his left leg. The blood clot was caused by deep vein thrombosis. Due to the health problem, he was forced to miss the 2009-2010 preseason and the start of the regular season, before returning to the Hershey Bears for two games on an condition and recovery stint. Despite starting the season late, Fleischmann set career numbers in all three offensive categories, goals, assists, and points. His contract was up at the end of the season and the Capitals decided to re-sign him to a one year deal.
Prior to the start of the 2010 campaign, the Capitals felt it would be necessary to move him from his position as a left-winger to center. He failed to establish an offensive game as a center and as a result he was moved down in the depth chart. On November 23, 2010 the Captials decided to trade Fleischmann to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for defenseman Scott Hannan. After an impressive start as a member of the Avalanche, it was revealed that Fleisch was diagnosed with pulmonary emboli, which is a blockage of the main artery of the lung. Fleischmann had no other choice but to sit out the remainder of the season to recover.
On July 1st 2011 the Florida Panthers announced that they have signed Tomas to a four year deal worth 18 million dollars. While announcing the signing, Panthers General Manager Dale Tallon said, “Tomas is a big, hard-working winger that can play a variety of roles for our team and will add depth at the forward position.” Since joining the Panthers, Fleischmann has been the guy and more. As a Panther, he is having the best year of his career. He has a career high in goals, assist, and points. This year is also a special year for personal accolades off the ice, as the South Florida Professional Hockey Writers Association nominated Fleischmann for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy. The trophy is rewarded to the NHL player that best exemplifies not only a high level of perserverance but also dedication and sportsmanship. He has bought a special sort of leadership to the Cats and has been having a fantastic second half of the season. As the Panthers are battling for first place atop the Southeast Division with the Washington Capitals, Fleischmann is doing his best to make sure his longtime former team does not gain first place in the division.
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