Colorado Avalanche: Tomas Fleischmann Practices; Will He Be Re-Signed?

James CriderCorrespondent IMarch 22, 2011

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 15: Tomas Fleischmann #14 of the Colorado Avalanche celebrates his third goal of the game, all scored in the 3rd period against the Chicago Blackhawks, with teammate John Michael Liles #4 at the United Center on December 15, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Avalanche defeated the Blackhawks 4-3. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Forward Tomas Fleischmann practiced with the Colorado Avalanche Tuesday, more than two months after being diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism in his lungs. The 26-year-old Czechoslovakia native last played January 18 in a 4-1 win against the Vancouver Canucks.

Fleischmann will sit out the rest of the season for precautionary reasons, and will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

The question is: will the Avalanche try to re-sign him?

The club has roughly 11 million dollars in cap space, as well as an owner (Josh Kroenke) with deep pockets.

But the Avalanche have been apprehensive about spending money the past two seasons, sporting one of the NHL least expensive rosters in both seasons. With young forwards like Mark Olver, Ryan Stoa, and OHL prospect Joey Hishon ready to challenge for a roster spot, the Avalanche may feel they can get strong contributions from players in the system.

On the other hand, the Avalanche went out of their way to trade for Fleischmann, and the player nicknamed "Flash" paid immediate dividends.

The Avalanche went 11-7-4 with him in the line-up, including a six game win streak in the middle of December. Fleischmann's eight goals provided a nice compliment to centerpiece forward Matt Duchene, who scored 11 goals in 22 games while playing on the same line.

Whenever the decision comes, it will likely be a precursor to the summer ahead.

Will the Avalanche retain an important (but expensive) player who can help the club turn it's fortunes around, or will they take the money saving route and head into next season with tempered expectations?

Tomas Fleischmann was acquired by the Avalanche from the Washington Capitals on November 30 in exchange for defenseman Scott Hannan. In 22 games with the Avs in 2010-2011, Fleischmann had 21 points.