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The Panthers 2011-12 season is quickly approaching and with that, floridapanthers.com is going 15 in 15 by taking a look at the top five questions, players to watch and games of the season on a countdown to the home opener on October 15th against Tampa Bay. We'll unveil one of the top five on a rotating basis each day to help fans get ready for what hopes to be an exciting season.

PURCHASE TICKETS TO THE HOME OPENER

Countdown 8: No. 3 Player to Watch; Tomas Fleischmann

Friday, 10.07.2011 / 4:55 PM
By Jared Levine - FloridaPanthers.com / Countdown To Home Opener 2011
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Countdown To Home Opener 2011
Countdown 8: No. 3 Player to Watch; Tomas Fleischmann

Forward Tomas Fleischmann, one of seven Panthers signees this off-season posted 21 points in 22 games with Colorado last season.
In today’s topic, we take a closer look at forward Tomas Fleischmann in the Top Five Players To Watch this season.

After missing more than half of the season last year, Fleischmann is itching to get back on the ice and start a new season. He might have only appeared in 45 games last season, but in his previous three campaigns, he has averaged 72 games. His health is no longer an issue coming into this season after recovering from the blood clots found in his lungs . Therefore the main question is, how well will he fit into the Panthers first line plans?  

Fleischmann was one of seven players acquired via free agency over the offseason to start the season with the Panthers, but to GM Dale Tallon, he has the potential to be the staple to this year’s offseason.

Tomas Fleischmann,” Tallon said with a smile, “is going to be something special.”

Starting off the 2011-12 season on the first line, Fleischmann will be asked to carry a lot of the offensive load this year. What he will benefit from is that he gets to play alongside other talented forwards like David Booth, Stephen Weiss, Scottie Upshall and Kris Versteeg.

“He hasn’t reached his peak yet,” said Tallon. “His numbers are just going to go up. He’s a very skilled guy who makes other players better.”

Others are labeling Fleischmann as a “wildcard,” but Tallon sees something special from this young forward. He believes Fleischmann has the ability to score and make plenty of plays if the offense focuses on him. 

It’s not like he hasn’t performed before, it was only two seasons ago when Fleishmann scored 23 goals and added 28 assists for the Washington Capitals.

Keep an eye on him this season, because if he can remain healthy for the majority of the season, Fleischmann has the capability to improve those numbers and even become a star in the Panther offense.



BY THE NUMBERS

.955 - Points a game that Fleischmann averaged last season in Colorado, posting 21 points in 22 games after being acquired from Washington.

3 - Recorded a hat trick, including the game-winner December 15, 2010 at Chicago for Colorado.

6 - Had six multi-point games this past season split between Washington and Colorado.

21 - Averaged just 21 penalty minutes in last four seasons while averaging 66 games played.

51 - Recorded career high 51 points during 2009-10 season with Washington.
 

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