Tomas Fleischmann wasn’t surprised when he was traded. With the Montreal Canadiens going nowhere this season, several players knew they were on their way out.
But heading to Chicago? That he didn’t foresee.
“I didn’t expect Chicago, because they took Laddy a couple days ago, so I didn’t really think it would happen here,” said Fleischmann, referring to the Blackhawks trading for Andrew Ladd on Thursday. “When I heard it, I was excited. Playing on a team with a good chance to win a Cup is always fun.”
Dale Weise had the same reaction.
“When Marc [Bergevin, the Canadiens general manager] gave me the call last night I was absolutely blown away,” said Weise via conference call on Saturday evening. “I was thinking earlier in the day when Andrew got moved there, that cut Chicago off as a possibility. And then they come around and make the deal anyway, so that was pretty crazy.”
Weise and Fleischmann had pretty good individual seasons for a Canadiens team that started well, then faded. They also had great chemistry when they played together early in the season. Now the two forwards hope to be the addition the Blackhawks need to claim their fourth Stanley Cup in the past seven seasons.
Fleischmann is already in Chicago and is expected to play on the Blackhawks’ third line in Sunday’s game against the Washington Capitals. Weise, meanwhile, is in a holding pattern until immigration paperwork is complete. When Weise does get here, coach Joel Quenneville said he would probably put him with Fleischmann, at least to start – “we’re looking forward to getting them together, to see how that works,” Quenneville said. It sounds like the combination already has: Weise said he and Fleischmann clicked immediately when they were put together in Montreal to start the season.
“We played the first 25 games together; we were put together in camp on the second day and took off. The chemistry was unbelievable from the start with him,” Weise said. “He has a ton of skill, a ton of vision. If we play together again that would be amazing.”
Fleischmann figures it’ll take about a week to get used to the Blackhawks’ system. Weise will catch up as soon as he gets here. Both players figured they would be shipped out of Montreal as the trade deadline approached; neither thought they would end up with Chicago. But they did, and they’re ready to take advantage of a great chance.
“You look at the roster, adding Tomas, adding Andrew Ladd, the roster looks dangerous right now,” Weise said. “For me to get a chance to play on a contender and go deep in the playoffs, on an individual standpoint, it’s huge for me and it’s only going to benefit me.”