B’s Bolster Defensive Depth

After doing some wheeling and dealing, the Boston Bruins got their man at the trade deadline… sort of?

No, the Bruins did not make a huge splash on the March 5 deadline day. That has become a patented move, or lack thereof, in the Boston camp in recent years. According to B’s general manager Peter Chiarelli, the team was “a little disappointed that they could not do more at the deadline.”

Was Chiarelli actively trying to shop around for that “blockbuster” or was this just a tell-all tale of the market out there?

In total, 15 deals went down on Wednesday that involved 24 players and 16 picks. The 15 deals were the lowest number of moves seen in the past seven deadlines.*

That did not stop the Black and Gold from bolstering their depth on defense. Early in the afternoon, they claimed blue liner Corey Potter off waivers from the Edmonton Oilers. This news proved to be the appetizer for what the Bruins had prepared for the main course later on in the day.

They completed a trade in which they acquired defenseman Andrej Meszaros from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for a third-round pick. Although this was not the marquee domino that fans hoped would fall into place, this deal could pay dividends.

Meszaros, a 28-year-old Slovakian native, has played 38 games for the Flyers this season, tallying five goals, 12 assists, and a plus-1 rating while averaging 17:22 of ice time. He also played alongside Zdeno Chara for one season in Ottawa and the past three Winter Olympics with their native country. The familiarity certainly factored in with this deal.

His ice time will fall right in line with the likes of Kevan Miller and Torey Krug, so he would likely fit nicely on the second pairing with Johnny Boychuk. He will also provide some versatility because he is a left-handed shot who can play on either side. At 6’2”, 218 lbs, Meszaros could be a solid presence on the ice while eating up some minutes. He will tweak his game to the zone style of hockey played in Boston, as opposed to the man-to-man style used in Philly. Meszaros is on record saying that he should adjust quickly.

All of that in exchange for a conditional draft pick? Not too shabby. The third-round pick in 2014 could become a second-round pick if the Bruins reach the Eastern Conference Finals and if Meszaros plays in two-thirds of all playoff games.

The important thing to remember with this deal is that the Bruins did not have to give up a roster player, something that Chiarelli was passionate about. He loves team chemistry and he wanted to keep the core group together, whether it was at the NHL or AHL level.

With the recent news that Adam McQuaid will be shut down for the next two-to-three weeks with a quad strain—and Dennis Seidenberg lost for the year—adding these pieces will provide some much-needed depth.

Of course, that statement will resonate with fans who have the lowest of expectations. For those of you who hope for the best, the play and presence of Meszaros could be the piece that puts the Bruins over the top in THIS YEAR’S Eastern Conference race.

They did not add a Jack Johnson-type of player on the blue line, but these deals will put the Bruins in a good position for the playoffs, and it will not hurt them long term.

*Source: The Toronto Star


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