The Panthers have made no secret of Fleischmann’s availability and it was clear that the 30-year-old winger would be dealt by the deadline. With just seven goals and 21 points in 52 games for Florida this season, Fleischmann is on pace for a second straight season of 30 points or fewer.
Fleischmann will become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, but is earning $4.5 million this season in the final year of a four-year, $18 million contract he signed with the Panthers in July 2011.
In the first year of his deal with the Panthers, Fleischmann racked up 27 goals and 61 points, the best offensive totals of his career, but has declined in each subsequent season. With his deal expiring, though, the Ducks move to land Fleischmann to possibly play alongside Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf is a smart move by Anaheim GM Bob Murray.
By giving Fleischmann, who obviously has offensive upside, a shot alongside two of the games premier scorers could help him recapture his scoring touch and possibly line up the Ducks to keep him next season. Anaheim has long looked for a player to slot in beside the Perry and Getzlaf duo, and Fleischmann could be that player. The trade also reunites Fleischmann with coach Bruce Boudreau, under whom he played parts of six seasons in Washington.
Heatley, who is going the other way in the trade, was Murray’s original experiment with Perry and Getzlaf early this season, but it fell horribly flat. In six games with the Ducks this season, Heatley skated just 12 minutes per game and failed to register a single point.
Heatley has since been toiling in the minors with Anaheim’s AHL affiliate, the Norfolk Admirals. In 25 games with the Admirals, Heatley has scored just two goals and seven points.
Getting dealt to the offensively starved Panthers may give Heatley, a two-time 50-goal scorer, another crack at resurrecting his career. Since 2009-10 when he scored 39 goals and 82 points as a member of the San Jose Sharks, Heatley has been on a steady decline, failing to score 30 goals in each of the past four seasons and registering only 12 in 76 games in 2013-14.
At this point, however, plans are for Heatley to head to the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage and work things out there. There may be a chance for him to move back up to the NHL yet, though.