When the Buffalo Sabres bought out defenseman Christian Ehrhoff prior to July 1st, it was obvious the Sabres needed to add some pieces to the blue line. Their first move was acquiring Montreal Canadians assistant captain Josh Gorges in exchange for a second round pick. Hours later, GM Tim Murray made a move that surprised fans, in acquiring one of the best available free agent blue liners in Andrej Meszaros. Meszaros inked a one year deal for 4.125 million dollars, making him the second highest paid defenseman on the roster.
Drafted 23rd overall in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, Meszaros played three seasons for the Ottawa Senators, never missing a game. Meszaros established himself as a capable top four defenseman, with lots of offensive upside. After below average play in Tampa Bay for two seasons, Meszaros ignited his career in Philadelphia during 2010-2012. However, during the last two seasons Meszaros has been plagued by injuries, thus only playing in 63 games with the Flyers and the Bruins.
When healthy, Meszaros can be one of the better defenseman in the NHL. He possesses great size at 6’02” and 223 lbs. He not only excels in his own end, but he takes the body and has the ability to put up 40-50 points in a single season. Meszaros has a cannon from the point, and sees the ice extremely well when moving the puck.
Meszaros will likely make a huge impact with the Sabres in many ways. First, he should be the quarterback for the first unit power play. Meszaros’ great vision and shot should bolster the power play, as he can get shots on net from the point, something Ehrhoff could never seem to accomplish. If Meszaros can stay healthy for the duration of the season, he will eat up minutes and play a major role on the Sabres blue line come October.
The signing of Andrej Meszaros was a win-win for the Sabres. If Meszaros plays well and meets expectations, the Sabres will have the option to re-sign him long term or trade him at the deadline, and get a substantial return. If Meszaros struggles or gets injures, he’s only here on a one year deal. Meszaros will be given every opportunity to excel with the Buffalo Sabres this coming season, and if he can stay healthy, there is no reason why he can’t have a career season with the blue and gold.