The Philadelphia Flyers
added some size and muscle to their already-formidable defensive corps in the form of 6-foot-2, 223-pound Andrej Meszaros
Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren
made that official Thursday when he announced he had sent a 2012 second-round draft choice to the Tampa Bay Lightning
for physical blueliner.
"I'm feeling good and I'm excited," Meszaros told the media during a conference call. "Philly was always a tough team to play against, and now I get to join them. I'm looking forward to that."
Meszaros, a native of Povazska Bystrica, Slovakia, spent his last two seasons with the Lightning. He played in 81 games in 2009-10 and produced 6 goals and 17 points with a minus-14 rating. In 133 games with Tampa Bay, Meszaros had 8 goals and 33 points with a minus-18 rating.
Meszaros admitted he didn’t think he’d be moved after just two seasons in Tampa Bay.
"I was surprised, for sure," he said. "I didn't expect that, but that's hockey, it's hockey life. That's part of it and I'm set to move on now."
The Flyers also re-signed restricted free agent Braydon Coburn
to a two-year deal on Thursday and reportedly signed 39-year-old Sean O’Donnell to a one-year deal.
Meszaros finished third on the Lightning this past season with 112 hits and also blocked 108 shots while averaging 20:10 of ice time per game. He’s not a great puck-mover, but his size and strength figure to be formidable assets.
"I can bring toughness," said Meszaros, who offers a left-handed shot from the point. "Philly plays an aggressive style and I like that. I can be a part of that."
Meszaros, who saw some time on specialty teams in his two seasons with Tampa, was impressed with the Flyers’ playoff run this past season. Philadelphia lost a six-game series to the Chicago Blackhawks
in the Stanley Cup Final.
"I watched run and the guys worked really hard and played well," he said. "They made it in from the bottom eight and went to playoffs and started playing well. They got into form and they were an exciting team to watch and I was impressed by that."
Additionally, Meszaros is also regarded as the prototypical "old-school" player, which also probably enticed Holmgren.
Not only did he return to action after taking an Erik Karlsson
slap shot off the right side of his throat last season against the Senators, but he also played the next day after a slap shot by Hurricanes' Anton Babchuk
hit him in the face and required 64 stitches in 2008-09.
The search for a fifth defenseman became imperative for Holmgren when the Flyers traded Ryan Parent
and a late-round draft pick to Nashville for the negotiating rights to defenseman Dan Hamhuis
. When the Flyers couldn't get a deal done with Hamhuis, they shipped the rights to the coveted 27-year-old defender to Pittsburgh during the Entry Draft for a 2011 third-round pick.
Meszaros, who will turn 25 on Oct. 13, was drafted by the Ottawa Senators
in the first round (No. 24) in 2004. The Senators dealt him to the Lightning in August 2008, in exchange for Filip Kuba
, Alexandre Picard and a draft pick.
Meszaros has played with current Flyers' defenseman Matt Carle
and Lukas Krajicek
when they were members of the Lightning. He said it makes no difference when he's utilized, as long as he can contribute in some way.
"I want to be a part of the team and want to win so whatever the coach wants me to do, I'll do it and whatever can do to help, I will," Meszaros said. "I had shoulder surgery and (suffered) a broken jaw while in Tampa, so maybe that played a part in my tough times there."
A torn labrum in his left shoulder ended his 2008-09 season in February and snapped his streak of 298 consecutive games. He played 52 games that season, notching 2 goals and 16 points.
Meszaros played in 379 NHL games, scoring 34 goals and 109 assists and is a plus-6. He has played in 34 playoff games, all with the Senators.
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale