Free agent forward Tomas Fleischmann is taking a professional tryout (PTO) to join the Minnesota Wild at training camp, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.
Fleischmann started last season with the Montreal Canadiens on a one-year deal that materialized out of a training camp PTO. He was later traded to the Chicago Blackhawks as a part of their playoff push. In 57 games with Montreal, he recorded 10 goals and 20 points. Once in Chicago, he put up another four goals and an assist in 19 contests.
The prior season, he was in a similar situation. He started the year with the Florida Panthers but was traded to the Anaheim Ducks as a part of their playoff push. That year he scored seven goals and 21 points in 52 games for Florida, then posted an additional goal and six points in 14 games for Anaheim. Both seasons, he had little impact during the postseason. In six games for Anaheim he had just one assist and went pointless in four postseason games with Chicago this spring.
It’s that connection to Anaheim that is likely a big part of his tryout offer. In Anaheim, he played under new Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau. He also spent some time with Boudreau earlier in his career when he laced up for the Washington Capitals. And though the club has a lot of young players hoping to make the NHL roster, Boudreau hasn’t been shy about stating that he’s interested in getting another veteran forward on the team to round out the roster. In particular, he’s looking for a winger for the fourth line.
RELATED: The Hockey Writers’ 2016 PTO Tracker
If signed by the Wild, the 32-year-old Fleischmann would likely be part of a fourth line that’s less grit and more structure. In three of the last four seasons, despite shifting situations for him, he’s been about an even up relative possession player and last season was the first time he posted a significantly negative number with a -2.33% mark according to Corsica. That is, in small part, due to a shift in responsibilities. He has almost always seen more deployment in the offensive zone and he finished last season with a -8.34% ZSORel%, meaning he was getting much more defensive deployment than his teammates were.
The Wild currently have $2.16 million available in cap space, according to General Fanager. That means there’s space to sign a cheap winger like Fleischmann or Ryan Carter, who is also at camp on a PTO. However, as the Wild have repeatedly shown in recent seasons, that extra cap space disappears quickly as injuries mount. They aren’t likely to be in the market to spend much of that money. It would be surprising to see two veterans signed. And that means there’s still space for a young player like Tyler Graovac, Alex Tuch, Christoph Bertschy or Joel Eriksson Ek to earn a roster spot on opening night.
#mnwild GM Chuck Fletcher has confirmed Fleischmann PTO
— Michael Russo (@RussoHockey) September 19, 2016