During the dog days of summer, NHL news can be scarce but hockey fans are an insatiable breed so to fill up some of those empty summer spaces, we will be doing individual profiles of the Florida Panthers players. In these profiles, we will dish on the players’ previous season, what we can expect next year and also take a look back at their careers. We hope these little pieces help all you Panther fans retain your sanity while we hold on in anticipation of the new season this fall.
While just about everything was going wrong for the Florida Panthers last season, Tomas Fleischmann remained the calm at the center of the storm. The 29 year old led the team in assists and points finishing the year with 12 goals, 23 assists and 35 points. Fleischmann showed his determination and resilience by playing in every game for the second straight season, a resounding statement that he will not be slowed down by recurring blood clotting issues that resulted in a diagnosis of a pulmonary embolus in January 2011 while playing for the Colorado Avalanche.
Despite the dissolution of the Flashmob Line (Fleischmann-Weiss-Versteeg) that was so productive during the 2011-12 season, Fleischmann continued to be a consistently productive player, relying on his cashmere soft hands and his in-game awareness, traits that allowed him to create quality scoring chances and convert on said chances.
Tomas Fleischmann has two 20-plus-goal season under his belt in addition to two 50-plus-point seasons (he was on pace to top both benchmarks in last year’s lockout shortened season as well).
Here is a look at Flash’s career numbers:
As you can see, Fleischmann has settled into a nice scoring grove over the past few years and when healthy he should be a safe bet for 50 plus points per year.
It was rumored that the Panthers were actively shopping Fleischmann during the 2013 NHL Draft but with no apparent takers, it looks like he will be back with the Panthers at the start of the season. Fleischmann is under contract for the next two years at $4.5 million per year so it comes as no surprise that the suddenly-even-more-cost-consious-than-usual Panthers tried to move him. Assuming he is on the team when the season starts, Flash, who is the team’s highest paid offensive player, will be expected to again be an offensive workhorse.
If Fleischmann is going to thrive this year, he will do so without help from his old buddies Weiss, who signed with Detroit, and Versteeg who will miss the start of the season while recovering from knee surgery. This means Fleischmann will be holding open auditions to fill two top line vacancies. So far, Shawn Matthias looks to be the player with the best chance of getting the nod at center and I could see the right wing spot being filled by Scottie Upshall, Tomas Kopecky or even Sean Bergenheim.
A key focus for Fleischmann will and always will be health as he has to take extra percussions due to his history with blood clotting. If he remains on the ice Fleischmann should continue to be as steady as they come.