Washington Capitals forward Tomas Fleischmann likely will miss the start of the season with a blood clot in his leg, though coach Bruce Boudreau said the team is pleased with the prognosis.
Fleischmann was not on the ice with his teammates Sunday for the opening of training camp. A team spokesman said the injury, called deep vein thrombosis, is believed to have occurred when Fleischmann flew back to his native Czech Republic at the end of last season.
The 25-year-old forward skated on his own Sunday morning before practice, but he is not expected to be cleared for contact until the first week of October, and he isn’t likely to be ready for game action for another week or two after that.
“We’re actually pleasantly surprised that he is going to be able to compete with us [in practice] in the first week of the season when we thought it might be a lot longer,” Boudreau said. “It is actually good news for what it was because blood clots can be very serious.”
Fleischmann had 19 goals and 37 points for the Caps last season despite missing three games with a lower-body injury and six with mononucleosis. He spent a substantial amount of his ice time at even strength on the second line.
Among the candidates to replace him in a top-six role (assuming Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Knuble, Brendan Morrison and Alexander Semin are the other five) are Brooks Laich, Chris Clark, Eric Fehr, Chris Bourque, Alexandre Giroux, Keith Aucoin and Oskar Osala.
“We’ve talked to some individuals and said this might be a great chance for them,” Boudreau said.
Nylander wants to stay
Boudreau and general manager George McPhee said Saturday there had been discussions about potentially sending Michael Nylander to a team in Europe for the upcoming season, but the Swedish center said Sunday he doesn’t want to leave.
Nylander, who is in the third year of a four-year, $19.5 million contract, had nine goals and 33 points in 72 games last season and was pointless in three postseason contests.
“No, I am not ready for that,” Nylander said of going to Europe. “I have a two-year deal here, and I am looking forward for the season to start. I am coming here with the intention to play for the Capitals.”
His name consistently has been a part of trade rumors and potential moves to a European club because his style of play does not mesh with Boudreau’s, but he has a no-movement clause in the contract. He can say no to any deal on either continent, and the Caps cannot send him to Hershey of the American Hockey League.
A Swedish media outlet quoted Nylander this summer as saying that Boudreau told him he wasn’t good enough to play for the Caps at the end of last season.
“I think they misunderstood what I said,” Nylander said. “I said, ‘By me not playing, that showed me that I was not good enough to make the team.’ They chose the wording that Bruce said it, but I said, ‘By them not playing me, it showed I was not good enough.’ ”
Fehr was on the ice with the first of three groups at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, but he has not been cleared for contact. He said it might be another two weeks, and he’s uncertain about being ready for the start of the season. …
Goaltender Braden Holtby left practice early with a groin injury, but it is not believed to be serious. …
Stefan Della Rovere returned to practice briefly but had to leave early. He missed rookie camp because of a concussion.