Why the Devils need him. The Devils have been looking for a LW for awhile now and are now mixing up the top to lines to find something. It's no secret that the Devils need to do a better job of putting pucks on net and therefore scoring goals. Simply put, Fleischmann puts pucks on net. Fleischmann has had over 7 shots per 60 minutes of play at 5v5 in each of the last four seasons. Here is a quick list from HockeyAnalysis.com of Devils that have done that over the past four seasons:
2013-2014: Brunner (9.09), Gionta (7.54), Jagr (7.46)
2012-2013: Clarkson (11.86), Bernier (8.14), Matteau (8.14), Elias (7.94)
2011-2012: Clarkson (10.36), Parise (8.88), Kovy (8.61), Poni (7.66), Sykora (7.49)
2010-2011: Parise (12.16), Clarkson (10.75), Rolston (7.88), Elias (7.71)
Does he fit on the top two lines? Looking at the Player Usage Charts at Hockey Abstract.com with at least 35 games and setting the bubble coloring to Corsi Relative it certainly appears that Fleischmann could work in a similar role as Zubrus depending on what side of the bed PDB wakes up on.
Is he available? Fleischmann was made a healthy scratch recently and his name has been brought up in trade rumors before. Around last years trade deadline according to Pierre LeBrun, around the draft from the Miami Heralds George Richards and recently by TSN's Darren Dreger. Fleischmann does have a Modified NTC that in the LeBrun article states he would have to include the Devils on a list of teams he would go to.
What would he cost? Less than the likes of Vanek, Cammalleri and Moulson. Those teams are going to want high draft picks and prospects. Two things that the Devils shouldn't be spending on a UFA. The rental market is going to be high because there are not too many players available and looking at the standings there might not be that many sellers (Islanders, Florida, Buffalo, Calgary, Edmonton).
Players with additional years on their contracts also tend to have a lower cost. Jussi Jokinen was traded for a conditional pick and Carolina still took back some salary. Kris Versteeg was traded for two young players and the Panthers had to eat his salary for the next two seasons. Our own former defenseman Henrik Tallinder was traded for a warm body because teams don't want to add another contract. The salary cap is rising next year compared to a falling one last year, but still teams (see Versteeg deal) tend to not want a contract that still has some years remaining.
For the Devils the extra year on the contract might be a good thing considering their lack of prospects. Also, when considering how much it might cost to sign someone to fix the Devils shooting/scoring problems that look like they will still exist next season, Fleischmann at 4.5M looks cheap.
Get on with it, who would you trade? Jacob Josefson or Loktionov would be the logical choice given that they are young and cheap. Two things that the Panthers might want. If the Devils acquire a top 9 forward that would push one of them out of the lineup anyways and neither has seemed to grab a spot for PDB. My feeling is that the Panthers would prefer Josefson because he could play wing, given that they already have young players like Barkov, Bjugstad and Shore down the middle. The Devils could even throw in other younger players like Tedenby, Burlon or Urbom that have no future with the Devils to give him a last gasp at the NHL.
Ideally the Devils would move a defensive contract to free up some cap room. The problem is that the Panthers would want nothing to do with an
old experienced defenseman because they already have one in Ed Jovanovski. So a separate transaction would be needed.
What are your thoughts? How do you see the Devils solving their shooting/scoring issues?