Panthers swing another deal, trade Fleischmann for Heatley
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) The Florida Panthers acquired forward Dany Heatley and a third-round pick in this year from the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday in exchange for forward Tomas Fleischmann.
The deal comes two days after the Panthers got Jaromir Jagr from New Jersey for a pair of draft picks.
Fleischmann had 27 goals for Florida three seasons ago, and 27 goals in 180 games since. The 30-year-old Czech veteran had seven goals and 14 assists for the Panthers this season.
Ducks general manager Bob Murray acquired his second forward in five days after picking up Jiri Sekac from Montreal. Fleischmann is making $4.5 million and will be a free agent this summer, but Heatley’s $1 million salary will offset some of Anaheim’s costs.
Fleischmann has a strong connection with Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau, his coach for four seasons with the Washington Capitals. They won an AHL championship together with the Hershey Bears, and Fleischmann had 23 goals and 51 points for the Caps in 2009-10.
”Fleischmann brings skill and smarts to our hockey team,” Murray said. ”He is a left-handed shot, can play on the power play or the penalty kill, and gives us added depth on the left side. His history with Bruce should help ease his transition to our club.”
Although the Ducks have the NHL’s second-best points total and lead the Pacific Division by 12 points while cruising toward their third straight division title, Murray is attempting to bolster Anaheim’s offense, which led the NHL in scoring last season, but is only 10th this year.
Fleischmann also could help fill the hole created by Matt Beleskey’s absence. The Ducks’ second-leading goal-scorer has missed six straight games with an upper-body injury, and the impending free agent could be traded if he can’t reach a new deal with Anaheim.
The 34-year-old Heatley was scoreless in six games with Anaheim, which signed him as a free agent last summer. He began the season with a groin injury and has been in the AHL since December after struggling mightily to keep up with the NHL pace.
Heatley has scored just two goals – both in the same game, way back on Jan. 2 – in 25 games for Norfolk.
The former rookie of the year has a pair of 50-goal seasons and has 791 points in 869 career regular-season games, but his production has declined precipitously in the past half-decade.
The Panthers announced the trade about an hour before their game against Buffalo on Saturday. The Ducks made the deal while flying to Dallas for a game against the Stars on Sunday.