Tuesday, May 06, 2008

2007-08 Rink Wrap: Tomas Fleischmann

From Backstrom to Steckel, we're taking a quick look at and grading the 2007-08 season for every player* who laced 'em up for the Caps during the campaign (and is still with the team) with an eye towards 2008-09. Next up, Tomas Fleischmann.

Contract Status: 2008-09 salary of $725,000; RFA after 2009-10
Age (as of October 1, 2008): 24
NHL Seasons (including 2007-08): 1+
2007-08 Regular Season Stats: 75 games played, 10 goals, 20 assists, -7, 18 PIMs
Key Stat: Fleischmann gave the Caps eight double-digit goal scorers (not including the trade deadline acquisitions).
Surprising Stat: Fleischmann had five points (2G, 3A) in the five games in which he got more than 16 minutes of ice time.

The Good: Fleischmann obliterated his previous career highs in goals and assists and had the fourth best shooting percentage of any forward on the team who played the whole season for the Caps, as well as the third best takeaway-to-giveaway ratio on the team, behind only checking centers Boyd Gordon and David Steckel. Flash's monthly point totals increased in each of the season's first five months (before falling off the table in March), and he scored two huge goals in the last five games of the regular season - an OT winner in Tampa and the game's first goal in the season-ending must-win against the Panthers.

The Bad: Fleischmann's minus-seven rating was tied for third worst on the team and he (we?) suffered through goal-less droughts of 14, 13, 13 and 10 games. Fleischmann drew a woeful (for a "skill" forward) 0.4 penalties per sixty minutes of ice time (by comparison, Gordon drew twice as many), had the fewest blocked shots of anyone on the team who played more than 23 games (and he played 75) and only 26 hits (Chris Clark had two fewer in 57 fewer games). This overall lack of physicality made him more or less unplayable in the postseason.

The Vote: Rate Fleischmann on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) based on his performance relative to his potential for the season - if he had the best year you could have imagined him having, give him a 10; if he more or less played as you expected he would, give him a 5 or a 6; if he had the worst year you could have imagined him having, give him a 1.

The Questions: What role do you see Fleischmann playing on the 2008-09 Caps? Healthy scratch? Top six winger? Trade bait? What will it take for him to earn a 10 rating next year?

If you've missed any of the previous 2007-08 Rink Wraps, click here, get caught up, and vote - polls will stay open for a while.

* And by "every," we mean every one who played more than just a handful of games.


Boodgiesdad said...

I would love to see Flash develop, but I doubt I will get the chance. My guess he's gone as part of a trade package...

There were moments this season where you could really see a glimmer of creativity and offensive potential. The problem for me is on the defensive end of the game, where he is invisible.

The Caps have the offensive weapons to go far. They need to take care of things in their own end, and I see him as part of a deal for a D. If he stays, I'd bet he's a healthy scratch most nights.

To raise his rating, he has to develop some grit, and make himself more visible back-checking and blocking shots.


1) If one never saw Fleischmann play and merely looked at his stats you'd think that 'Flash' had a career year and would be poised to break out even more next season.
2) However if you saw him play those 75 games and short playoff appearance you'd know his significant deficiencies. Most exploitable/obvious is his lack of strength. He has to be the most easily moved from the puck in the league.
3) He also is NOT all that speedy for a guy with that nickname. He has good offensive instincts, which probably accounts for his good AHL numbers, but as of yet(if ever) he seems to be a step behind the play/can't keep up with NHL speed of the game.
4) Considering the amount of ice time and with whom he was playing his numbers were actually NOT that impressive. IF he is a top 6 forward after the 2008 camp it does not bode well for the Caps next season. Still trying to figure out why they gave him a 2 year guaranteed one way contract.

Melvisdog said...

Tomas is like one of the little skinny super-fast guys in the original Nintendo Hockey game. Hit and BOOM, he's blown across the ice. He NEEDS 10 maybe 20 lbs of muscle and testicular fortitude. I don't think hope is lost as I remember the difference between Bondra on season 1 & 2. It was like night and day. (Peter had one of the goofiest interviews in the history of the Caps when someone asked him (Koken, Fornes?) how he felt and he responded,"I feel strong. VERY strong.") He turned out okay but until Tomas packs it on, he's going to be an underperformer.

exwhaler said...

At this point, Fleichmann is the healthy scratch skill forward who plays when there's an injury. That's what caused the amount of his playing time this season.

As others pointed out, Flash's main issue is his lack of strength--he doesn't have enough skill to compensate (like Semin did) and even though he appears to be smart with the puck, he loses whatever advantage he has by being manhandled.

I don't think he's trade bait right now. Not because he's that valuable to the team, but rather there's not much the Caps can get in return. Gabby likes the guy, he's cheap, and he's still a 23-year-old prospect. I think the Caps will wait and see how he conditions himself over the off-season.

Paul said...

I think Bondra is a good analogy. I remember seeing Bondra in his first couple of years when he was weak on his skates and looked absolutely lost on defense. Flash is a similar style of player, although not as fast. I suspect he will toughen up and make it in the NHL. I'd like to give him at least one more year to see whether he can put it together.

Tyler said...

Flash looks like a 2009 fourth-round pick, only with curlier hair.

His numbers would be tolerable if he was an ace PK or if there was some other component of his game. There isn't.

VT Caps Fan said...

Flash needs to spend the summer in 3 locations. The weight room, stuffing his face and the ice. No place else.

If he could put some muscle on him, he'd be fine. He'll mature into a player. But he is too small to play at the NHL level consistently.

I'm not losing faith in him, but I just think he needs at least 20 pounds of muscle then he'll be dangerous.

Murshawursha said...

I'm running out of patience with Flash, and to be honest I'd like to see him moved in a trade before the rest of the NHL realizes he's bad. Maybe he has more to give, but at this point I think he's holding up a roster spot that could better be used to develop another of our forward prospects of which there seems to be a plethora (did I spell that right?)

That said, I hope he proves me wrong next season, because with his contract I can't see anyone being interested in him.

~Mark said...

I think my biggest problem is not even what he is, but what he could become. Let's say he could develop into a 20 goal regular season performer. What are his strengths going into the playoffs, where skill is so much less important? He can't really fall back on his checking, PK, etc... So if we're building (seriously) for a Cup run, how does he fit in in the playoffs??? He needs to bulk up, and REALLY improve his defensive/checking play. Impossible? No, but improbable.
I say trade him if you can. Otherwise, he's your next Steve Eminger.

Tyler said...

I'm obviously in the 'trade him' camp, but I'd have to concede it's pretty unusual for a team to sign a guy to an (inexplicable tho tiny) two-year contract and then trade him a couple months later.

Ted said...

He is totally replaceable. He must learn to finish his chances, play a little tougher. Here is a skilled guy that can't crack the first power play and barely crack the second power play. How many NHL games do you need to play before you get a tougher game? It's been nice, Tomas. Bye bye.

breed16 said...

I gave him a 3. He didn't improve a lick from game 1 to game 82 and that's not a good sign for a "developing" player. He is by all accounts a Boudreau favorite, but while the rest of the Caps stepped their game up under BB Flash treaded water.

He can't finish. He constantly commits costly turnovers. He can't hit. He can't play defense. His only redeeming quality is that he is cheap.

If he doesn't come into training camp turning heads, cut him. We have enough skill in the pipeline.

bigonetimer said...

Despite two big goals down the stretch, I think Flash got a lot of rope from BB this season...I see him in the AHL this fall or traded, notwithstanding his 2 yr contract.

Jason said...

I gave him a 4. He is still young and I don't mind the 2 year deal as it is some top 6 depth to have. As everyone has talked about his main problem is muscle/weight and he could use a little more quickness but it is up to him to address this in his off season conditioning. I recall reading something about the team begging Flash to put some weight on last season.

Not a big fan of his game though if he can address the above he'll become a more valuable asset trade or injury depth wise.

sheesh said...

i think chris bourqueor francois bouchard is a much better choice at this point

dmg said...

If he doesn't come into training camp turning heads, cut him. We have enough skill in the pipeline.

I don't see any reason to cut him - the Caps would have to play his salary that way, but not have him play and though there is some skill in their prospects, no one is beating down the door (by the way, if people think Fleischmann is small and lacks strength, you should see Perrault)

Fleischmann really isn't anything in the way of trade bait either - a 23 year old skilled forward who only picked up 10 goals in 75 games isn't going to get a lot. Maybe a late round draft pick or a minor league enforcer.

I think the Capitals are making the right decision with Fleischmann. He certainly has skill and could develop in to a quality NHL player if (1) adds strength (2) uses the strength to start going to the net and (3) makes better decisions. Given his age, that's all quite feasible. If he has a breakthrough this offseason, play him on the second line. If not, Fehr, Clark or Laich could fill that spot and Fleischmann becomes a depth player. Either way I think he's worth the money and worth more than anything the team could get back in a trade

dmg said...

i think chris bourqueor francois bouchard is a much better choice at this point

Maybe Bourque (but I don't think so, I think that Fehr is the prospect more likely to get a chance in a top six role at this point), but not Bouchard. It's possible that Bouchard could make significant enough strides to make it on the roster next fall, but from what I know of his game, he needs more development.

Marky Narc said...

I gave him a 3. Flash was a head scratcher all season long. Sometimes he darted around like Semin, other times he was as invisible as Klepis. I suppose the main question now is whether or not this guy is developing at the rate the Caps want him to. The signal from the organization seems to be yes.

Flash will be a top six forward at the start of training camp (which can't come soon enough!), but will have to earn his time just like any other player. I think it's safe to say that his off-season is of utmost importance. There are plenty of other forwards waiting in line for a chance should Flash stumble.

I'm hoping his getting scratched in the playoffs in favor of Fehr serves as a wake up call.

breed16 said...

Perhaps "cut him" was too strong a sentiment. I agree with marky narc that this offseason and early next season is Flash's make-or-break window. At this point it's not necessarily about him becoming a 30-goal scorer. The question in my mind is: does he have the will and desire to put in the work? If he isn't picking up on the urgency of his professional situation at this point, he's not worth keeping around.

He needs to show something during training camp, because a reincarnation of this year's Flash is worthless.

Ogre said...

He's 23. He's an AHLer right now, but not all 23 year olds can play in the NHL yet. Give him 2-3 years. I think he pans out.

Jimmy Jazz said...

Things Flash needs to do in the off-season:

1) Cheeseburgers and dumbbells
2) Learn how to shoot the puck into an wide open net

sheesh said...

dmg, i never said i'd rather have bourque come in and play in the top six, i agree fehr or clark should be there. fleischmann started out in that role, but he played much of the season in the bottom six as well. i think bourque would be a better fit in that capacity, to begin his career at least, than flash if he cant pick up his intensity and physical play. the jury is still out on bouchard. if he does go to hershey i hope he plays well enough to warrant a call-up or two this year. if he winds up on the 3-4 year ahl chris bourque career trajectory ill be disappointed

Daniel said...

All I know is that I was shocked and amazed when I saw he had 30 points this season. He was transparent in almost every game. It never seemed like he brought much to the table and a stiff breeze knocked him off the puck.

I think he's a healthy scratch next year, since I can't see him being top-6 with a healthy Fehr/Clark in the mix, and he can't play a 3rd/4th line role effectively.