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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tomas Fleischmann's Contract

Capitals 3rd line left winger and occasional center Tomas Fleischmann is a restricted free agent this summer.  He made $725,000 last season.  In order to retain his services, the Capitals will have to tender him at least a 1-year Qualifying Offer of 110% of his 2009-10 Salary, which equates to $797,500.  Judging by other forwards around the league, "Flash" should be offered a multi-year contract worth at least 7 digits.

#14 Tomas Fleischmann

Fleischmann's Background
Fleischmann is a 6'1, 192 pound 26-year old forward from Koprivnice, Czech Republic.  He was a Detroit Red Wings 2nd round draft pick in 2002 (63rd overall) out of the Czech Junior League, HC Viktovice. He was a steady point producer for the Moose Jaw Warriors of the Western Hockey League, posting seasons of 71 and 75 points after his draft year.  He was acquired by the Capitals in 2004 with the draft pick that became Mike Green in exchange for Robert Lang

Fleischmann turned pro in 2004-05 with the AHL Portland Pirates, posting 7 goals and 19 points in 53 games as a pro rookie.  In 2005-06, he appeared in his first 14 NHL games and posted 2 assists.  In the AHL, the change of scenery to Hershey did him good, as he scored 30 goals and 63 points in 57 AHL games and had a monster playoff with 11 goals and 32 points in 20 games as the Bears took the 2006 Calder Cup.  Flash posted 22 goals and 51 points in 45 AHL games in Hershey the next year and appeared in 29 NHL games and had 4 goals and 8 points.

Fleischmann's Last Three Seasons
Fleischmann made the NHL for good in 2007-08 when he posted 10 goals and 30 points in 75 games and saw his first two NHL playoff games.  He broke out in 2008-09 with 19 goals and 37 points in 73 games after some injury and illness issues forced him to miss a few games.  Flash also posted 3 goals and 4 points in 14 playoff games.  Fleischmann's conditioning was affected by a bout with pneumonia in January and his production dropped off dramatically in the spring. 

Last season Fleischmann showed why he was so highly regarded by Coach Bruce Boudreau.  He missed the first 9 games with a blood clot in his leg, which meant his summer conditioning was limited and he could not practice with contact until he was cleared.  When he returned, he posted 23 goals and 51 points in 73 games, though he had another drop-off in the spring.  He was moved to center for a dozen or so games and had some success there, but his faceoffs and his defense were not good enough to warrant keeping him there.  He completely disappeared in the playoffs, only posting 1 assist in 7 games against Montreal, a team he had done well against in the regular season. 

Fleischmann is purely an offensive player, even though he does see some penalty kill time.  He is probably the worst defensive player on the team.  He is quick and has good hands and instincts, but he is not an intrinsically smart hockey player.

For more on Flash, check out his Japer's Rink Wrap for the 2009-10 season.  

Comparable Players
The comparable players to look at against Fleischmann are Ryane Clowe, Patrick O'Sullivan, Drew StaffordWojtek Wolski, and Colby Armstrong; all young wingers, with the exception of occasional centers Wolski and O'Sullivan, and they all signed their current contracts in the past 2 years.  They have all had some production before their contract years.  I will look at their stats at the time of their contracts. 

Fleischmann:  260 GP, 56 Goals, 72 Assists, 128 Points, 0.22 Goals per game, 0.49 Points per game
Contract Year:  69 GP, 23-28-51 and 7 Playoff Games, 0-1-1
Preceding Year:  73 GP, 19-18-37 and 14 Playoff Games, 3-1-4
Preceding Year:  75 GP, 10-20-30 and 2 Playoff Games, 0-0-0

Clowe (4 years, $3.63 million per):  162 GP, 41-55-96, 0.25 GPG, 0.59 PPG
Contract Year:  71 GP, 22-30-52 and 6 Playoff Games, 1-1-2
Preceding Year:  15 GP, 3-5-8 and 13 Playoff Games, 5-4-9
Preceding Year:  58 GP, 16-18-34 and 11 Playoff Games, 4-2-6

O'Sullivan (3 years, $2.93 million per):  126 GP, 27-45-72, 0.21 GPG, 0.57 PPG
Contract Year:  82 GP, 22-31-53
Preceding Year:  44 GP, 5-14-19

Stafford (2 years, $1.9 million per):  184 GP, 49-61-110, 0.27 GPG, 0.60 PPG
Contract Year:  79 GP, 20-25-45
Preceding Year:  64 GP, 16-22-38
Preceding Year:  41 GP, 13-14-27 and 10 Playoff Games, 2-2-4

Wolski (2 years, $2.8 million per):  162 GP, 42-62-104, 0.26 GPG, 0.64 PPG
Contract Year:  77 GP, 18-30-48 and 7 Playoff Games, 2-3-5
Preceding Year:  76 GP, 22-38-50
Preceding Year:  9 GP, 2-4-6 and 8 Playoff Games, 1-3-4

Armstrong (1 year, $2.4 million):  281 GP, 63-86-149, 0.22 GPG, 0.53 PPG
Contract Year:  82 GP, 22-18-40
Preceding Year:  72 GP, 13-22-35
Preceding Year:  80 GP, 12-22-34 and 5 Playoff Games, 0-1-1

Analyzing the Comparables
Ryane Clowe is the highest paid of the comparables, and he matches up the most favorably in terms of regular season production over the three years prior to the contract.  Where he outshines Fleischmann is his playoff production, and in that Fleischmann isn't even close.  Fleischmann will not approach Clowe's 2009 contract price of $3.63 million.

Patrick O'Sullivan had the least experience of the comparables, but he is also perhaps the most precocious, and is an occasional center.  He had a very good second NHL season, or first full NHL season that is almost exactly the same as Fleischmann's 2009-10 production.  He got a nice second contract at 3 years and almost $3 million per after playing 18:25 a night and finishing as the 4th leading scorer on the 2008 Kings, even before appearing in his first playoff game.  Flash plays more like 16 minutes and was the #7 leading scorer, basically a whole line behind O'Sullivan.  Flash is not precocious, either, at 26.  He should make less than O'Sullivan.

Interestingly, Drew Stafford seems to have the most in common with Fleischmann in that he has similar numbers over the three years leading up to his contract, but he also made the least at $1.9 million per year for two years.  He had two good goal scoring years leading up to the contract and some playoff experience.  Fleischmann is better offensively overall, but not by much.  Stafford's small contract may have to do in part with him being a Buffalo Sabre, a small market team, but it might also have to do with him being a smaller part of their lineup.  In terms of his role, Stafford was a #2/3 winger and played 15:32 a night, comparable with Fleischmann, and was the #5 scorer on the 2008-09 Sabres.  Flash will probably earn more than Stafford, but it shouldn't be too much more.

Wojtek Wolski is perhaps an outlier on this list, as he was a highly touted prospect and accomplished much more than Fleischmann and earlier, but as a Left Winger and Center with similar numbers, he is comparably in that respect.  He averaged $2.8 million per year for the last 2 years as a major player on the Avalanche and he had some nice playoff numbers.  Fleischmann isn't as good as Wolski, but he is in the same vein as him.

Colby Armstrong is an interesting case, as he made $2.4 million on a 1-year deal and certainly brings a physical element to his game that Fleischmann does not.  His offensive numbers are not the most impressive in the two years leading up to his contract, but he did also post 40 points in 47 games as a rookie on Sidney Crosby's line in Pittsburgh.  He has some offense and some big holes in his games, like Flash, and he is very similar in age, experience, and production, though again, Flash is a better offensive player.

Final Analysis
Some of the comparables seem to make more or less money than they really ought to based on their production.  Fleischmann seems to be between Armstrong and Wolski in terms of his value, though he seems to be closer to Drew Stafford who only makes $1.9 million per season.

His conditioning isn't a major issue when he can do it.  His late season durability is a problem and his lack of playoff production is a major problem.  He seems to be the classic Columbus Blue Jacket.

For a 3rd liner, Fleischmann is remarkably one-dimensional, though that one dimension is pretty good.  Based on his comparables, Fleischmann ought to receive a 2-3 year deal worth $2.5 million per year, but that might be too much money for the Capitals to keep him.  Caps #2 left winger Brooks Laich will make $2.4 million ($2.07 Cap hit) next season, and seeing how Laich is a better center than Flash, it's tough to see Flash making more than Laich, though McPhee could step up Fleischmann's salary if he keeps him.  His playoff performance ought to keep him from going any higher than $2.5 mil per year average.

Bottom Line
Ultimately, McPhee may look to trade him as he is superfluous on a team already loaded with offensive weapons who all play better defense than him.  Fleischmann has some versatility, but it is entirely offensive in nature.  He would be a valuable addition to a team in search of a scoring winger and ought to fetch a good return.  He is not truly a 2nd line center nor is he really worth $2.5 mil as a 3rd line winger.  It may be Bruce Boudreau who decides to keep him in DC, but we all know what happens when coaches keep too many players they liked in the minors:  himhim, and him in particular.  If the Caps can't fit him into the salary structure and still get all the pieces they need to win, it might be time for Flash to move on.


  1. bestpilotonearthMay 19, 2010 at 8:12 AM

    Get him away from gabby! Get his addiction out of town!

  2. 50 point 3rd line players don't grow on trees. Sign him to a decent deal, 1.9 - 2.3 million for 2-3 years with the option to trade. Then trade him. A lot of teams should be yearning for a guy like Flash, other teams he could be a 2nd line winger easily where he'd probably see similar production to here despite the loss in team offense more ice time should do more theoretically.

  3. One of the nice things about Flash was his affordability. At $715K, he was a bargain and worth it. At $2.5 mil, he'll cost too much. If he takes less money than that, he might be worth keeping around, but we're set at Left Wing for a while with Ovie and Laich, we really need a veteran #2 center, and Flash would eat up a lot of the money that could go to filling that gaping hole on the roster.