Best Panthers Player - 2012
In the mysterious alchemy of professional sports, it's often damn near impossible to determine what turns a losing streak into a glittering championship run. But in the case of South Florida's suddenly successful hockey team, the special ingredient is clear. When the Florida Panthers signed Tomás Fleischmann last summer, the left winger's career was in jeopardy. He had shown flashes of offensive-minded brilliance with several other teams, only to miss large chunks of the two previous seasons with potentially fatal blood clots. The Panthers were also in bad shape, earning the dubious distinction of becoming the first NHL team to fail to make the playoffs for ten straight seasons. But ever since signing the 28-year-old Czech, the Panthers seem to have finally grown a furry feline pair. The team fought its way back into the postseason this year thanks in large part to Fleischmann, who during the regular season led the team in shots on goal, goals, and points, and finished third in assists. The left-winger played in every single game.