Bieksa for Fleischmann: Why and Why Not

By now, you’ve all heard of the Kevin Bieksa trade rumor that has the Canucks defenseman going to the Washington Capitals for forward Tomas Fleischmann. Here are a couple of quick thoughts.

At first glance, Fleischmann doesn’t seem to fit the Canucks’ remaining roster needs. Ideally the Canucks would still make improvements to their penalty-kill and defensive depth; unfortunately, he doesn’t solve either of those issues. While fast and skilled, Fleischmann has a reputation for being a perimeter player and ineffective forechecker. His $2.6 million salary also provides little cap relief to the Canucks, a key factor because clearing cap space is one of their key reasons for having to trade Bieksa in the first place.

So why would Mike Gillis consider this trade?

Fleischmann may not be big or gritty, but he is still a 20-goal, 50-point guy and his addition to the Canucks lineup will give them the ability to roll three scoring lines. Basically, the hope is that he could provide the offense that Pavol Demitra couldn’t last season.

The fact is, goal-scorers don’t grow on trees and Fleischmann is a goal-scorer. In fact, as a UFA-to-be after the 2010/2011 season, he may be the kind of player that contending teams target at the trade deadline to increase their depth in the postseason. Except in this case, the Canucks would acquire him in the summer and avoid overpaying for him in March. Certainly, giving up Kevin Bieksa for a top-six forward now seems more reasonable than giving up, say, a good prospect and a high draft pick(s) for the same player in March.

Fleischmann may or may not be a perfect fit for what the Canucks are looking for, and if Washington is indeed Bieksa’s destination, there are other Caps players who could fit those roles better (e.g. Chimera, Steckel). However, given the choice, would you much rather Mike Gillis trades a top-four defenseman who has garnered considerable interest around the league in Bieksa for a top-six forward or dump him for a role player plus picks?

J.J. Guerrero

Founder and Executive Editor of Canucks Hockey Blog. Proud Canadian, hardcore Canucks fan. I would like nothing more than watching the Canucks win the Stanley Cup. Against the Leafs.

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5 Responses

  1. mrmoa says:

    As a Caps fan, I can tell you one thing that you guys may not now about Fleischmann. He's a shut-down forward: he completely shuts down in the playoffs.

  2. YVR says:

    I disagree with your characterization of trading Bieksa for “a role player plus picks” as a “dump”.

    For the right package, there can be no denying that a combination of a roster-ready player that plugs one of Vancouver's remaining holes in their bottom-six and a solid, early-round draft pick (and maybe a second late-round pick or a mid-level prospect) would have more value to the Canucks than Tomas Fleischmann.

    With Burrows rehabbing his shoulder (following the June surgery), Fleischmann might be an intriguing option to fill-in but once Burrows have returned, “Flash” isn't exactly the most useful player to shift into a more defensively-responsible or physical bottom-six role.

    I believe that Gillis needs to try to strike the right balance between seeking the highest return (best player(s)/package available) and looking for commodities that fit well with the team and its goals moving forward.

    I trust that the reason MG is taking as long as he has to move “Juice” is because he is trying to find the deal that will help the Canucks the most and I'm pretty convinced that swapping Bieksa for Fleischmann is not that deal.

  3. YVR says:

    @mrmoa: nice one about “Flash”–I very much agree

    The Canucks could really use a true “shut-down forward” to strengthen their bottom-six and also a guy who actually steps-up his game in the post-season.

    Fleischmann is neither.

  4. Mtrowbri says:

    Bieksa for a bag of pucks would make most Canucks fans happy. Just get that bum off the roster.

  5. TannerGlass's Dirty Flow says:

    i agree with “Mtrowbri”-bieksa for anything would be nice, but i dont think fleischmann fits…i remember hearing on the Team 1040 that MG was talking to the Habs about Bieksa for Tinordi…i dont know if theres any thruth to that but i think that would be a much better deal. We do not need another soft euro forward. i wouldve liked to see them picked up Asham…hed be a great fit on that bottom six…cheap too

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