Earlier today a new trade rumor has surfaced regarding the Philadelphia Flyers.
According to TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger, a possible move involving Andrej Meszaros could be coming in the next week. He reported that the Flyers have been receiving interest from the Boston Bruins in regards to acquiring the 28-year-old Slovakian.
The Bruins lost defenseman Dennis Seidenberg to a torn ACL in January. Seidenberg normally pairs with captain Zdeno Chara, so having that pair split up certainly hurts Boston’s blue-line.
The interesting thing about Boston inquiring about Meszaros is the connection he has with their captain, Chara. Both men played together for Slovakia in the Winter Olympics. Although not on the same defensive pairing, there is likely a familiarity with each other that could be worth exploring. Obviously that would need to be explored in Boston because Chara isn’t going anywhere.
Meszaros has been a handful for the Flyers’ front office since arriving. Dealing with a plethora of injuries over the past two seasons, he has been relatively healthy during the current year.
He is still fighting for his spot, however, with players like Luke Schenn and Erik Gustaffson (mainly with Gustaffson), for a spot on the third defensive pairing. Sending him elsewhere could possibly answer the question of who gets those minutes while freeing up cap space in the process.
Meszaros is in the final year of his 6-year, $24 million contract, making $4 million this season. The Bruins have placed both Seidenberg and Marc Savard on the long-term injury reserve (LTIR), much like the Flyers have been doing with Chris Pronger. According to capgeek.com, this gives them just above $4 million in cap space to deal with.
With that space, they have enough room to pay Meszaros for this season so he can help them make a run for the Stanley Cup, something they are certainly capable of doing, and ridding themselves of his contract at the end of the season if they so choose.
The Flyers wouldn’t receive anything with a huge immediate impact back. Prospect names have been floating around, but nothing is really substantial. Bruin’s blog Days of Y’Orr suggested possibly sending Jordan Caron (23-years-old, RW, 6’3’’, 204), Matt Fraser (23-years-old, LW, 6’2’’, 207) and a conditional second-round pick to Philadelphia in exchange for Meszaros.
This trade is interesting, and it could really be effective. Steve Downie has been a healthy scratch fairly regularly because head coach Craig Berube feels he hasn’t been intense enough. Either of these players could fill in for him on the third or fourth lines. Both are bigger and tougher players who could thrive in the Flyers’ system. Fraser is also tied for second on the Providence Bruins (Boston’s AHL affiliate) in goals scored and powerplay goals.
Now it seems like a lot for Meszaros who would only likely be a rental player for one season in Boston, but he would help them on the blue-line during a probable Stanley Cup Final run.
One big question that might arise in Philadelphia is: why would they trade a defenseman away if defense is area in most need of improvement?
Seeing as Meszaros has been fighting for minutes with Gustaffson (who is liked more by management), Gus would likely step in to fill the void. However, if the plan all along were to trade away Meszaros, he would have to play. Teams aren’t interested in someone who they can’t see play (in most cases).
The move would also free up cap room and add other picks/pieces that could sweeten a deal for a premiere player in the future.
Overall this trade would be good for both Philadelphia and Boston. The Bruins get a defenseman to temporarily replace Seidenberg while they make a playoff run, and the Flyers get some young guys to help boost their farm system, possibly make an impact at the NHL level and add pieces for future trades.
If a trade along these lines arises in the next week, Philadelphia GM Paul Holmgren shouldn’t hesitate to pull the trigger.
HartnellDown Tracker: Scott remains at 201.