Flyers defenseman Meszaros has Achilles surgery

Flyers defenseman Andrej Meszaros had surgery Tuesday to repair a torn right Achilles tendonhe injured while training in Slovakia last week.
Flyers defenseman Andrej Meszaros had surgery Tuesday to repair a torn right Achilles tendonhe injured while training in Slovakia last week. (MATT SLOCUM / Associated Press)
Posted: August 09, 2012

The Flyers' summer of discontent has gotten worse.

The team said that defenseman Andrej Meszaros had surgery Tuesday to repair a torn right Achilles tendon and would be sidelined indefinitely. The surgery was performed by Steven Raikin at Jefferson University Hospital.

Last month, the Flyers signed restricted free agent Shea Weber to an offer sheet and envisioned having the league's best defense.

Now their defense is in disarray.

General manager Paul Holmgren, whose team lost Weber when Nashville matched the Flyers' $110 million offer, said he would have a better idea of Meszaros' status in six weeks.

It's not a stretch to think the rugged defenseman could be sidelined for most - if not all - of the regular season. Barring a work stoppage, the Flyers will open on Oct. 11.

Last year, the New Jersey Devils' Travis Zajac suffered a torn Achilles tendon in mid-August, underwent surgery, and missed the first 30 games. He returned to the lineup in December, then aggravated the injury and missed 37 more games.

The Phillies' Ryan Howard needed eight months to return to the lineup from a similar injury suffered last October. Howard, however, had a setback - an infection that needed a surgical procedure - that delayed his comeback.

Meszaros, who will turn 27 on Oct. 13, was expected to be a key member of the Flyers' defense, which already is depleted because captain Chris Pronger is battling post-concussion syndrome and probably won't play again.

Meszaros underwent back surgery last season, but was named the Flyers' top defenseman in 2010-11. The latest injury occurred last week during a training session in Slovakia.

The injury means recently acquired Luke Schenn probably will move to the second pairing, and free-agent signee Bruno Gervais likely will be one of the Flyers' top-six defensemen.

Though Holmgren downplayed it, the club figures to be in the market for another blue-liner. If the Flyers don't make any moves, here is how the defense may look:

Braydon Coburn and Nick Grossmann; Kimmo Timonen, who is 37 and coming off back surgery, and Schenn; Gervais and one of three other candidates: Marc-Andre Bourdon, Erik Gustafsson, or Andreas Lilja.

"We have a lot of young guys we like," Holmgren said, "and we have four who have a lot of experience, so we'll see how it goes."

Holmgren added that Bourdon, Gustafsson, and Brandon Manning "got their feet wet last year" and that he liked what he saw.

The best unrestricted free agent available is probably 6-foot-1, 205-pound Carlo Colaiacovo, who had 19 points and was plus-7 in 64 games with St. Louis last season. Montreal's P.K. Subban is among the available restricted free-agent defensemen.

Subban reportedly has said he will not sign an offer sheet with another team, but his negotiations with Montreal have hit a roadblock.

Michael Del Zotto is a highly regarded restricted free-agent defenseman with the Rangers, but New York has the cap space and is expected to re-sign him.

Washington's 6-3, 212-pound John Carlson is an intriguing restricted free-agent defenseman. His production dipped last year in his sophomore season (37 points to 32, plus-21 to minus-15). But he is only 22 and has loads of potential. Like the Rangers, the Capitals have lots of cap space and likely would match an offer sheet.

"We'll see what the rest of the summer brings," said Holmgren, who could pursue a deal for Phoenix defenseman Keith Yandle or San Jose defenseman Dan Boyle.

The Flyers were unsuccessful earlier this summer in trying to land free-agent defensemen Ryan Suter and Weber. They also lost defenseman Matt Carle, who signed as a free agent with Tampa Bay.

Meszaros had seven goals and 18 assists in 62 games last season. He underwent March 21 surgery to remove a disk fragment from his back. He returned to play one playoff game against New Jersey, although he wasn't close to 100 percent.

The Flyers have about $3.5 million in cap space, but that could grow by nearly $9 million if Pronger and Meszaros are placed on the long-term injured list when the season starts.


Contact Sam Carchidi at scarchidi@phillynews.com, or

on Twitter @BroadStBull.

 

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