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Smiling Along The Way

There's been two constants for the Panthers and Tomas Fleischmann the last two seasons. They hope one changes this upcoming season.

Tuesday, 09.24.2013 / 5:30 PM ET / News
By Glenn Odebralski  - FloridaPanthers.com
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Smiling Along The Way
Panthers forward Tomas Fleischmann celebrates a goal last season

In the two years that Tomas Fleischmann has been a member of the Florida Panthers, there's been pretty-much two guarantees. One, he was leading the way in the scoring department and two, he was doing it with a smile on his face.

The charismatic winger has always been that way and in the doldrums of a long season, he’s a breath of fresh air for his teammates.

"He's just been funny to be around," said Calder Trophy winner Jonathan Huberdeau. "He knows when to be serious but he can be funny as well."

"He's also a guy that brings a strong level of enthusiasm," said head coach Kevin Dineen. "Every day he comes to the rink with an infectious personality and that's always on the positive side."

Fleischmann led the team in goals (27) and points (61) helping the Cats capture their first division title in franchise history in 2011-12. In a lockout-shortened season, the winger led the way in assists (23) and points (35). That success has the third-year Panther forward looking to repeat his past success.

"For me personally, just do whatever I did the first two years," said Fleischmann. "Hope it's going to work right like the first year (for team success)."

After going through a health scare during the 2010-11 season, that ended his season pre-maturely, he signed with Florida in July 2011. Since his signing, Fleischmann has been a model of consistency. He's played in every single Panthers game (130 regular season games).

"There's a durability factor. We're all a little bit sensitive to the health issues after last season," said Dineen. "Flash has been extremely durable and valuable in an offensive role."

Entering his ninth season in the NHL, Fleischmann has been a role model for his younger line mates.

"He's been good. I think he's a great teammate to have on the team. As a young kid last year, he helped me," said Huberdeau. "He just helped me on the ice to where to go. I played (center) for years so he's trying to help me on where to go."

While still early in the pre-season this year, the duo have been skating on a line together, looking to build chemistry, especially coming off a combined five-point performance (2-3-5) in the final game of last season against Tampa Bay. It's something that the duo are looking forward to.

"We played maybe three games last year together. We have got to find a chemistry," said Huberdeau. "He's just helping me to get to know him a little bit on the ice and to find him a little bit easier."

"This is (the) Rookie of the Year. He's one of the best players I've played with," said Fleischmann. "He's probably going to lead our team in points this year so that's probably good for me."

Asked more about not wanting to win the points race for the Panthers a third straight season, the witty Fleischmann was quick to respond. It's definitely something that if he's not leading the way, it's for the best.

"Because I don't have to. Because he's the guy that's going to," said Fleischmann nodding Huberdeau's way following a recent practice at Saveology.com Iceplex. "Just watching him last year, he's way smarter and I would say stronger than last year. I think he's going to be really good for us and when he's going to be really good then the team is going to be playing well."

Fleischmann has certainly embraced his role on the team. While most other teams have their super stars, Fleischmann has led the way in a different way for the team. And even though he's been the Panthers best offensive player in the past, he views the future much differently.

"I think every player who starts playing hockey wants to be like that, like (Washington and former teammate Alex Ovechkin) or those (super star) guys," said Fleischmann. "I know what I can do and every night I'm trying to do that and that's all I can do. The points are there then it's good, if not, it might happen. It's nothing I can do about it.

"Now we have younger guys like Huby or (Aleksander) Barkov and those guys can chip in and make the team better." 

And that's all that Fleischmann really cares about; returning to the playoffs and smiling along the way.




1 x - NYR 76 48 21 7 231 179 103
2 x - MTL 77 47 22 8 203 174 102
3 x - TBL 78 47 24 7 250 204 101
4 PIT 76 42 23 11 210 190 95
5 NYI 77 45 27 5 235 215 95
6 WSH 77 42 25 10 227 190 94
7 DET 76 40 23 13 221 208 93
8 BOS 77 39 25 13 204 198 91
9 OTT 76 38 26 12 220 204 88
10 FLA 77 35 27 15 192 210 85
11 CBJ 76 37 35 4 210 234 78
12 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
13 NJD 77 31 33 13 170 197 75
14 CAR 76 28 37 11 176 208 67
15 TOR 77 29 42 6 201 245 64
16 BUF 76 21 47 8 148 255 50


J. Huberdeau 74 13 36 9 49
N. Bjugstad 72 24 19 -7 43
J. Jagr 72 15 26 -3 41
J. Jokinen 76 8 33 -4 41
B. Boyes 74 13 23 10 36
A. Ekblad 76 11 24 10 35
J. Hayes 67 18 14 -6 32
A. Barkov 66 14 17 -3 31
B. Campbell 77 3 23 2 26
B. Pirri 44 21 2 6 23
R. Luongo 26 18 12 .921 2.35
A. Montoya 5 7 2 .888 3.08
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