When Dennis Seidenberg went down, the question that went around social media was "Who will the Bruins get in a trade?". With a defensive group that currently has four players in their first or second year (Hamilton, Krug, Bartkowski, Miller), players battling through injuries (McQuaid [again]) and different call-ups (Zach Trotman was called up January 23rd) – it could be time to add another veteran presence to the group.
Randomly, Mikey over at Orange and Black Pack posed this question to me:
@PezDOY Think the Bruins would make a "Matt Fraser (LW) & Peter Cehlarik (LW) for Meszaros (D)" trade?
— Mikey D, O&BP (@MikeyD_OandBP) January 23, 2014
And I sat on it for a bit. Initially I said no because Fraser and Cehlarik [Slovakian prospect playing in SweHL] wouldn't allow for cap compliancy (or so capgeek told me). Mike then told me to be creative and the Flyers are having issues with back-checking and their breakout.
All of this led me to the inevitable question: Is Andrej Meszaros the answer to the question of "Who fills Seidenberg's spot"?
Before I can honestly give you that answer, we need to look at everything like:
– Would Philadelphia actually be willing to trade him?
– Meszaros' contract status
– Potential trade targets for Philly
Would Philadelphia Be Willing To Trade Meszaros?
Well, it seems like it. In October 2013, Travis Hughes from Broad Street Hockey believed that they would.
The Flyers like Erik Gustafsson more than they like Andrej Meszaros for any number of reasons — cap hit, age, injury history, whatever. They'd like to trade Meszaros and get Gus into the lineup, but they know they need to play Meszaros in order for teams to be interested in him.
Started the season terribly, but have slowly crept back into playoff contention thanks to a shitty Metro Division. With 56 points, the Flyers currently hold the last playoff spot in the Metro before entering into the new wild card fray.
[UPDATE: After last night's loss in Columbus, Philadelphia holds the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with four teams (Detroit, Ottawa, Carolina and Washington) nipping at their heels. They may not even be a playoff team when the deadline rolls around.]
But making the playoffs isn't going to stop them from trading Meszaros could it? I don't think so. With Gustafsson injured, a spot is open for this guy to come in and play. When Gustafsson comes back in when the issues could happen. It's clear that Philadelphia would rather keep Gustafsson and let him play over Meszaros. Let's be honest, any NHL would rather keep a younger, cheaper version of an expensive player (see: Miller/McQuaid).
Another factor for trading Meszaros? Injuries.
Meszaros hasn't played a full season since 2010-2011. In 11/12 he played 62 games, 12/13 (lockout year) he played 11 and this year he's only played 31 of Phildelphia's 51 games.
So wrap injuries and a love for Erik Gustafsson into this and Meszaros could be ripe for the picking.
…But The Contract!
Meszaros is making $4M this season and then it's deuces – a pure rental player. It wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility that Peter Chiarelli gets a high paid rental player. In 2010-2011 when the Bruins won the Stanley Cup, Chiarelli traded for Tomas Kaberle, who made $4.25M that season. After this season, as I mentioned, he's a free agent and it's thanks (for nothing, maybe).
Boston has been known to go out and get a piece if they believe they need it. They did it in 2010 with Kaberle. They did it in 2012 with Jagr (and almost Iginla). Chiarelli hasn't been afraid to pull the trigger on a trade that he believes will better the club. He isn't a General Manager who makes a trade to make a trade, which is a blessing given some of the trades that occur in the NHL.
…And the Cap Space!
As you can see, Boston currently has $3,190,833 of cap space moving forward. Chris Kelly is on LTIR, but Dennis Seidenberg isn't (per capgeek) so this could all change when Kelly comes back and (if/when?) the Bruins designate Seidenberg for LTIR. So let's say that this is it going forward – let's say that Kelly's money and Seidenberg's money are a wash because to calculate every LTIR move is assinine.
…And Now The Trade!
Matt Fraser is not untradeable, but to move him would have to make sense. The Bruins don't really have a great up-and-coming winger in their system and Fraser doesn't really fit that mold. If we're going to label Fraser, he's more of a power forward than anything. He likes to hit and he has a decent offensive game, but his defense is lacking. That can be a learned skill though. If Philadelphia inquires about him, I wouldn't say no.
But Fraser isn't going to be enough. I wouldn't trade Cehlarik at this moment because I believe he could become a good player although he's in Europe right now. You never know if this is a Söderberg situation. If Philadelphia is looking for another forward, I would see if they were interested in Jordan Caron.
Now, right from the get go I'm sure most people will scoff at this and say "Pez, this is some HFBoards shit right here". Whoa there cowboy, hear me out. Caron could easily take over a spot from Adam Hall of Steve Downie – who Philly has scratched a few times because he's not "intense enough". Plus Philadelphia is taking on his expiring contract so it's not like they are locked into anything long term.
The last piece of this trade is a conditional 2015 second round pick to the Flyers. The condition? It turns into a 2015 first round pick if the Bruins make the Stanley Cup Finals. So to recap:
And a conditional 2015 second round pick. This leaves Boston with a hair under 500K in cap space until they make a move with Bartkowski or McQuaid (which would certainly happen is Meszaros came in) and it gives the Bruins a veteran defenseman and rental player who could help them in the playoffs.
If you think about it, Tomas Kaberle was pretty much in the same situation and was traded for Joe Colborne and two draft picks. It's entirely possible that Meszaros is traded for two players and a draft pick.
Potential playoff pairings:
Zdeno Chara- Andrej Meszaros
Johnny Boychuk – Dougie Hamilton
Torey Krug – Kevan Miller