The Boston Bruins didn’t make a big splash at Wednesday’s NHL trade deadline, but they did add a reliable veteran defenseman in Andrej Meszaros from the Philadelphia Flyers.
The B’s are Meszaros’ fourth NHL team, and he’s never had a better chance to win a Stanley Cup.
“I’m really excited obviously,” Meszaros told reporters Wednesday. “It’s a great opportunity, a great team and a great organization that I am happy to be a part of. Obviously I really liked it here in Philadelphia. It was great — great guys, great organization.
“But this year it wasn’t working out for me. I wasn’t playing much. I was in and out of the lineup, so I am happy now that I have the opportunity now to play hopefully more consistently, and I’m better. So I’m happy it will be a new, fresh start for me, and I am really excited.”
Meszaros, who tallied 17 points (five goals, 12 assists) in 38 games for Philadelphia this season, is a strong player who moves the puck well and adds another powerful shot to the Bruins’ blue line. He also has a high hockey IQ and adds 46 games of playoff experience.
The cost to acquire the 28-year-old blueliner was only a conditional third-round draft pick, which meant Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli was able to add valuable defensive depth without giving up an NHL player or prospect.
“It’s a third-round pick that becomes our second this year if we make it to the conference finals and he plays in at least two-thirds of all the playoff games,” Chiarelli said Wednesday. “Or we re-sign him, then the third becomes a second. … If we sign him after the draft, it becomes an additional fourth the following year.”
Injuries have prevented Meszaros from being at full strength over the last few years, but he said Wednesday that his health isn’t an issue right now.
“I feel strong, and I feel pretty good,” he said. “I can skate pretty good and join the rush and obviously have to be good defensively, because defense is first, and then the offense will come obviously, and hopefully I can help the guys up front and score some goals.”
One of the biggest adjustments for Meszaros when transitioning to the Bruins’ defensive structure will be playing more of a zone-based style than he did in Philadelphia, but the veteran defenseman is confident he will learn the B’s system quickly.
“I think every system is different, and I don’t think it’s going to be hard for me to adjust to that,” he said. “I think I’m pretty easy. Anything the coach will tell me to do, I think I can pick it up really quickly. So I don’t think I should have any problem with that.”
Meszaros will be in Boston for Thursday’s game against the Washington Capitals at TD Garden. Chiarelli said Bruins head coach Claude Julien will decide if Meszaros plays.
Photo via Twitter/@BostInno