This has been quite the off-season for the Ottawa Senators and Andrej Meszaros.
After the Sens completely tanked the regular season and barely put up a fight in round 1 of the playoffs, possibly their top RFA refuses to sign a long-term contract with the club, pushing for as much money as possible.
Now the Ottawa Senators have shipped Andrej Meszaros to the Tampa Bay Lightning for Filip Kuba, Alexandre Picarde and a 1st Rounder (via San Jose).
I have to say it benefits both teams.
But, advantage .... Ottawa.
What a move by Bryan Murray.
Meszaros had turned into a bad headache for a team already reeling with many apparent locker-room issues that may have contributed to their colossal collapse at the end of last season. It was clear that this situation wasn't going to help anything. Murray had already gotten rid of Ray Emery, who was another source of problems in the locker room so it was clear that one of his objectives this off-season was to give the boys a fresh start... free of any problems.
In return, the Sens pick up Kuba... a very serviceable defenseman, capable of logging 15-18 minutes and spending a bit of time on the PP. True, he probably has a bit of a turnover problem, but he can contribute to a team.
They also picked up Picarde. A promising young defenseman. Although it doesn't look really good that two teams have essentially given up on him over the last half-year. But I think he's the big part of this deal. The part that Murray probably believes can be every bit as good as Meszaros and replace his production. That, I couldn't agree with more.
Throw a 1st rounder (likely a late one) in the mix... and they might just be able to pick up another really solid prospect just like Meszaros once was, 23rd pick of the 2004 draft.
Talk about making the best out of a bad situation. Bryan Murray should be applauded for this move. Yes, it will be tough to see Meszaros go. He brought a lot to the team and played a lot of minutes for someone his age.
As for the Lightning. They get a guy who moves right up to the top pair of their rather weak defense. He's going to play Bouwmeester-like minutes and contribute on the power-play.
I think Bryan Murray just couldn't justify giving a 3rd year pro a 4 mil per year contract. And I don't blame him. When compared to the contracts signed by Mathieu Carle, Marc-Eduard Vlasic, Brent Seabrook and others, Meszaros had a lot of bargaining power behind him.
There's no such thing as the second RFA contract anymore thanks to a couple desperate GMs. And 22-23 year old defenseman are at that spot where they can really go either way... take the next step and become a top pair defenseman, or stay the same, having peaked early and then have to be prepared for a few years of criticism for a contract that's too high.
From a Flames perspective, some can argue that I've just contradicted exactly what Darryl Sutter did with Dion Phaneuf. The difference is that Dion is a Norris Trophy candidate and a top 10 defenseman, if not higher, in the league with the potential to become one of the best. Is Meszaros one of those guys? I don't think so.
Great move by Murray, I don't think they feel the loss of Meszaros at all.