Andrej Meszaros' Absence Squeezing Philadelphia Flyers' Defense

By Sean O'Brien


Philadelphia Flyers Andrej Meszaros
Christopher Szagola – USATODAY Sports

Andrej Meszaros should be able to return to the Philadelphia Flyers‘ starting lineup by early March, at the latest.

Meszaros played three full seasons for the Ottawa Senators at the beginning of his career. After being dealt to the Tampa Bay Lightning, he missed 30 games during the 2008-09 season and then appeared in 81 games during each of the next two seasons for the “Bolts.”

The Czechoslovakian native was traded to the Flyers on July 1, 2010 for Philadelphia’s second round pick in that summer’s amateur draft. He again appeared in 81 for the Flyers during the 2010-11 season, but missed 20 games due to a disk surgery in his back at the end of last year.

After suffering a right Achilles’ tendon tear last summer, the lockout enable him to recover in time to play in the first four Flyers games of this season. However, he sprained the AC joint in his left shoulder in late January and has been on injured reserve ever since.

Without Meszaros, an already “challenged” defensive contingent has been pressured even further. Kimmo Timonen, Braydon Coburn and Luke Schenn have had to assume greater responsibilities. Each has played well, but a compressed 48-game schedule will serve to wear anyone down (regardless of age) by the time the playoffs arrive. I guess I should say, if they arrive.

Philadelphia is currently ranked twenty-third in team defense and eighteenth in team offense. If those statistical trends persist, the Flyers won’t be able to print postseason tickets.

The 20+ minutes of ice time that Meszaros has averaged during his orange and black tenure can be seen in his absence. Peter Laviolette will welcome number 41 back to his blue line group for reasons that are tied to both ends of the ice the day that he’s ready to rejoin the active roster.

Follow Sean on Twitter @SeanyOB, Facebook, Google+ and read his blog Insight.

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