Left wing Tomas Fleischmann is next in line to audition for that curiously difficult-to-fill left wing spot on the Ducks’ top line alongside Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.
Continuing a flurry of trades around the NHL leading up to Monday’s trade deadline, the Ducks acquired Fleischmann from Florida on Saturday for winger Dany Heatley and a third-round pick in the June entry draft. The deal reunites the 30-year-old Czech with Bruce Boudreau, who coached him in Washington and with Hershey (Pa.) of the American Hockey League, where they won a Calder Cup title in 2006.
Fleischmann, 6 feet 1 and 192-pounds, has a salary-cap hit of $4.5 million and can become an unrestricted free agent after this season. He had seven goals and 21 points and was plus-12 defensively in 52 games with the Panthers this season. He set career-best totals of 27 goals and 61 points with Florida in the 2011-12 season. For his career he has 122 goals, 304 points and 164 penalty minutes in 567 games with Washington, Colorado and Florida. He has four goals and eight points in 29 career playoff games.
“Tomas is a skill player who can make a play,” Boudreau said. “He sees the ice really well and is solid defensively. He should be a really good addition.”
Boudreau also said he might try Fleischmann on the left of Ryan Kesler. “These are experiments over the next 19 games and we will find out,” Boudreau said. “When I had him in Washington, he scored 20-plus goals and was playing with [Sergei] Fedorov and [Alexander] Semin. He was very good on the power play and I think there are a lot of things he can help us with.”
Fleischmann was told of the trade shortly before the Panthers faced the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday. He was scheduled to join the Ducks in Dallas on Saturday night. The Ducks traveled Saturday and didn’t practice in advance of Sunday’s game against the Stars.
“Fleischmann brings skill and smarts to our hockey team,” Ducks General Manager Bob Murray said. “He’s a left-handed shot, can play on the power play or the penalty kill and gives us added depth on the left side. His history with Bruce should help ease his transition to our club.”
Heatley signed a one-year, $1-million contract with the Ducks last summer with the idea that he might fit with Getzlaf and Perry and revive his career. However, he suffered a groin injury during the preseason and underwent surgery in November. The Ducks assigned him to Norfolk of the AHL on Dec. 30, and he had two goals, seven points and a minus-5 defensive rating in 25 games with the Admirals. He’s expected to join the Panthers’ AHL team in San Antonio.
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UPDATE: The Ducks’ four-goal rally to defeat the Kings, 4-2, Friday was their fourth win in their last five games and 10th win this season when they trailed after two periods. They’re 26-7-5 against Western Conference teams. The Stars’ 0-3-2 slump has pretty much killed their playoff chances, and Coach Lindy Ruff was critical of goaltender Kari Lehtonen after the Stars squandered a two-goal lead Friday in a 5-4 shootout loss to Colorado. “I know this is hard, but the goaltending performance doesn’t match the effort of the team,” Ruff told reporters. Center Tyler Seguin (knee) remains out of the lineup.