Oct 5, 2013; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens left wing Rene Bourque (not pictured) scores a goal against Philadelphia Flyers goalie Ray Emery (29) as defenseman Andrej Meszaros (41) looks on during the third period at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Flyers Need To Trade Andrej Meszaros

Jan 11, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Andrej Meszaros (41) carries the puck past Tampa Bay Lightning center Valtteri Filppula (51) during the first period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Even before the rumor season began, I was hoping to see Paul Holmgren stay quiet during the week leading up to the NHL trade deadline. The deadline is next Wednesday, March 5th. So far, the Flyers have not made any moves but they have been linked to several players. What they do between now and March 5th will tell us a lot about what management thinks this team can do.

When I say that I think Holmgren should be quiet this year at the trade deadline, that does not mean that I think he should do nothing. Unless a deal comes up for a top pairing defenseman (names like Ehrhoff, Vatanen, and Edler have come up) that does not cost too much, then Homer should stay away from adding players. In my opinion, as far as trade bait goes, Sean Couturier and our first round pick should be off the table.

One of the most helpful things that Holmgren can do for this team’s future is sell off their UFA’s. They only have three of note, Kimmo Timonen, Steve Downie, and Andrej Meszaros (with the injury to Emery I don’t think he is going anywhere). As much sense as it may make to trade Timonen and possibly get a first round pick + for him, I just do not see the Flyers being willing to part with their assistant captain. Steve Downie could possible fetch a mid/low level draft pick or two, but considering the way he plays with Read and Couturier, the Flyers may want to hang on to him for the rest of the season.

When it comes to Andrej Meszaros, there are multiple reasons why he should be dealt by Wednesday. Here are just three:

First, the Flyers could get a quality asset for him. At first, I was skeptical of the thought that another team would actually want Meszaros enough to call the Flyers about him. However, Darren Dreger reported on the NHL Network that the Bruins were interested in Mesz and the always reliable Eklund (ok, maybe not) has reported Boston’s interest in him on numerous occasions, including this one. But then we must wonder, can the Flyers get anything better than a sixth/seventh round pick for him? I believe so. In this article, a Bruins blogger gives multiple reasons why the Bruins would love Meszaros. I will let you read the arguments on your own (I don’t want to steal his thunder), but he mentions at the end that the Bruins could give up a second or third round draft choice for Meszaros. For a defenseman who has been in and out of the lineup over the past few years with injuries (and just being a healthy scratch), receiving a second or third round pick for him sounds glorious. When July 1st comes, it is very unlikely that Meszaros will have re-signed with the Flyers. Why not get an asset for him instead of letting him walk away for nothing? And if he really has turned his career around and is a true top-4 defenseman, then we can always sign him this summer.

Second, it allows the Flyers to play Erik Gustafsson full time. As I have stated many times on this blog, I am a huge fan of the GusBus. Gustafsson is a restricted free agent at the end of this season and will likely be re-signed. Unfortunately, the Flyers have a log jam on defense and Gustafsson has had to switch in and out of the lineup with Meszaros for the entirety of the season. Yes, Gustafsson has bad games every once in a while. However, unlike other Flyers defensemen he seems to be benched at the first sign of trouble. This both hinders his development and sets a bad precedent. What message does this treatment of Gus send to guys like Morin, Hagg, and Gostisbehere? It says that the Flyers will bench you at the first sign of trouble. And when it comes to young defensemen, there will inevitably be times of trouble. Therefore, trading Meszaros gives Gustafsson the freedom to play on a nightly basis without the press box looming over his head.

Third, it frees the Flyers to make other small moves. I am not opposed to making a small tweak here or there to the Flyers line up. And as I stated earlier, I would not be opposed to a trade that brought in a top defenseman, if the price is right. However, the Flyers are in no position to make any trades right now. According to capgeek.com the Flyers can only afford to take on a contract of $2, 929, 573 million this season. Even for a ‘small tweak’, just under $3M is not a lot of money to work with. Even if it is only for a short time, taking Meszaros’ $4M AAV off the books could give the Flyers breathing room. That way the Flyers could make the small moves that may be needed to keep the team afloat. For example, the status of Ray Emery is unclear at this time. If the Flyers need to find a veteran back up for the short term, more cap room offers more flexibility. If the Flyers take the advice of Brendan Canney and I (and a host of others out there) and do not make too many moves, cap space will not be a big deal, but it is always nice to have some breathing room.

I do not hate Meszaros, nor do I think he is a bad player. But right now, I see no reason why he should be on the Philadelphia Flyers roster come March 6th.

Tags: Andrej Meszaros Featured Philadelphia Flyers Popular Rumors Trade Deadline

  • ron ban

    In addition to dumping Mesz, I am attracted to Ehrhoff and his small 4 mil cap. BUT he’s signed for 6 yrs which is a problem (since he’s 31 now). What I don’t get is, if we sign Hoff and he turns to garbage in let’s say 3 yrs, is there ANY way to alleviate his remaining 3 yrs/ 4 mil per yr cap hit?

    • David Quackenbos

      I’m not sure of a way to alleviate his contract other than a buyout, and that would include some nominal cap repercussions. However, if we could get Ehrhoff (I’m a huge fan of his as well) I don’t think his contract is a problem. For the next few years he will be worth $4M (or more) and by that point the cap will have gone up by so much that a $4M defenseman would not be as big of an issue as it is now. That may be the asking price for a 2nd-3rd pairing guy, which is what Hoff would be by then.

      • ron ban

        I can easily see someone like Hoff not being even marginally effective by the time he turns 35 or older. Dmen often tend to fall off a cliff at that age (Timo and Streit being exceptions). There is a big risk he may at that age be a 6th dman at most. Philly would need to consider and guard against that possibility.
        Even if the cap goes up, I don’t think they would be happy to sacrifice 4 mil/yr of cap for 3 yrs straight for a 6th dman.
        ALSO remember one thing, Streit is 35 yrs old now and is also signed for a few yrs. That too may be something Philly regrets if he regresses too much.
        That being said, there probably are no better choices.

        • David Quackenbos

          It’s definitely possible that Hoff will deteriorate, but I think he will at least be marginally effective for a while. We currently have Mesz ($4M) and L.Schnn ($3.6M) on the third pairing, not that it’s ideal. I agree with you about Streit. By the time his contract is up, I think the Flyers will live to regret it.

          • ron ban

            You may be right, but here’s the question. Streit has , what 4 mil, left for 4 yrs. After 2 yrs let’s say they have to buy him out. What will the cap hit be then? Let’s say he has 2 yrs left at 4 mil/yr. when they do the buyout. How does it work?

          • David Quackenbos

            I’ve done a little bit of research and it looks like if Ehrhoff were to retire there would be no penalty against the Flyers. When it comes to a buyout you can find out exactly how much it would cost the Flyers each year here: http://capgeek.com/buyout-calculator/?player_id=121&buyout_y=2014&buyout_m=06&buyout_d=15 After going through that, I would hope that we would not need to buy him out.

  • Sean

    I don’t understand trading our best all-around defenseman if you plan on making noise in the playoffs. Offensively, he gets the puck to the net with an accurate, quick release–watch Coburn and Schenn missing the net repeatedly in infuriating–and pinches better than any d-man at both blue lines. He skates well, plays aggressively (something only Grossman and Schenn can really say, and Mesz out-skates both of them), and makes sound puck decisions. Watching Timo give up both blue lines–inexcusable on the power play–Coburn turn it over (and not really hit anyone), and Streit do pirouettes on the offensive blue line and sometimes turn it over really makes you really appreciate Mesz.

    As for next year,s “logjam,” Timo is set to retire, and Coburn, who makes more money than Mesz, is apparently somehow a tradable commodity. We should take advantage of that before teams actually watch tape of him. That frees up two spots. Mesz-Streit (who seemed superfluous even when we signed him), Gustaffson-Grossman, and Schenn-(kid/free agent) would be as solid or better than what we have now.

    • David Quackenbos

      I think we just see the defense in a completely different light. I do not see Grossmann and Schenn skating well, ever. They are both glacial and their “aggressiveness” leads to them being chronically out of position. Coburn is the best pure skater on the defense and is probably the Flyers best all-around defender. The reason he has enormous trade value is because he’s actually pretty good. He makes mistakes here or there, but he consistently takes on the opponents top lines. Kimmo may be slow, but he is still a top pair guy and logs the same tough minutes as Coburn. If Grossmann, Schenn, or Streit were UFAs, I would be writing similar pieces about them because other than Kimmo/Coby, no defenseman is crucial to this team’s success. At this point, unless the Flyers can add a true, all around #1 defenseman without giving up a lot of their young core they won’t be making noise in the playoffs. So why not trade the UFAs? Mesz has flashes of good play, but on a game to game basis he is only average and he plays incredibly sheltered minutes. In our division, we cannot afford to have a top pairing of Mesz-Streit like you suggested. The likes of Crosby, Ovechkin, Tavares, Malkin, Nash, etc, would eat them for lunch on both ends of the ice.

      One final note: If Mesz is truly becoming a good all-around defenseman, then we can always re-sign him this summer. Why not get a draft pick for him while we can?