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Numbers Game: Flyers Acquire Meszaros

Scott Cullen
7/1/2010 12:42:41 PM
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The Philadelphia Flyers paid a big price to bring in Andrej Meszaros from Tampa Bay. 

Numbers Game looks at the deal and wonders what it means for the future of Braydon Coburn.

The Flyers Get: D Andrej Meszaros.

Meszaros, 24, was expected to provide more to the Lightning when he was acquired from the Ottawa Senators a couple of years ago, but it wasn't a good fit for him.

In 133 games with the Lightning, Meszaros has 33 points and a minus-18 rating. While he started his career as a strong supporting member on the Senators' blueline, Meszaros was charged with taking on more difficult defensive assignments, for a team without established shutdown defenders.

Moving to Philadelphia, Meszaros returns to more of a supporting role.  He's played more than 20 minutes per game in each of the last four seasons, so Meszaros could, theoretically, handle a top-four role with the Flyers as well, but as long as the Flyers hold onto Chris Pronger, Kimmo Timonen, Matt Carle and Braydon Coburn, then Meszaros is a strong fifth option on the Philadelphia blueline.

Meszaros has four years and $16-million remaining on his deal, which seems awfully costly for a third-pair defenceman, but now that the Flyers have re-signed Braydon Coburn to a two-year deal, the Flyers are locked in with a very strong one through five on the blueline, apparently not looking to spend a lot of money on goaltending, or anywhere else, since the Flyers are now within a couple million dollars of the salary cap.

The Lightning Get: A second-round pick.

A pick that falls in the second half of the second round holds some value, as nearly 30% of players taken in that range end up playing 100 NHL games, but the real value in this deal for the Lightning is getting rid of Meszaros' long-term contract.

Tampa Bay has a lot of job openings on defence, where Mattias Ohlund and Victor Hedman are the only returnees to have played at least 50 games and 20 minutes per game last season.  By unloading Meszaros, the Lightning at least have more financial flexibility in order to renovate a defence corps that really needs an upgrade.

Meszaros will be a better fit with Philadelphia than he was in Tampa Bay and the Flyers are taking a sizeable gamble that will indeed be the case. 

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@ctv.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen.

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