Flyers Notes: Holmgren faces tough call on Meszaros

Andrej Meszaros #14 of Slovakia looks on against Czech Republic during the Men's Qualification Playoff Game on day 11 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Shayba Arena on February 18, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images)
Andrej Meszaros #14 of Slovakia looks on against Czech Republic during the Men's Qualification Playoff Game on day 11 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Shayba Arena on February 18, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images)
Posted: March 01, 2014

General manager Paul Holmgren has a quandary: Does he trade defenseman Andrej Meszaros, who has played well despite being in and out of the lineup but is a potential unrestricted free agent in July, or does he keep him because of the valuable depth he gives the Flyers for the stretch run?

The clock is ticking. The trade deadline is Wednesday at 3 p.m.

Thursday's matchup against San Jose was Meszaros' 36th game of the season, and he had 17 points and was plus-4 after scoring his fifth goal in the first period. He has come out of coach Craig Berube's doghouse with his improved play on defense.

"He's come in lately and done a good job - getting pucks to the net, jumping up in the play, been better defensively," Berube said before the game. "He's really come around."

Berube said Meszaros, 28, struggled defensively earlier in the season because he was still getting into form after missing most of last season with shoulder injuries.

"I think his injuries had something to do with it, but he's beyond his injuries now and playing pretty good hockey for us," the coach said.

Boston is among the teams that reportedly have shown interest in acquiring the 6-foot-2, 223-pound Meszaros, who was teammates with the Bruins' Zdeno Chara on Slovakia's Olympic team. It is believed that Chara is nudging the Bruins to add Meszaros.

Asked if he wanted to stay with the Flyers, Meszaros said: "I love Philadelphia, and I love everything here. It's my last year of my contract, obviously, and whatever will happen will happen."

The Flyers probably would get a third-round pick or a prospect for Meszaros. They have to weigh that against his value during the last six weeks of the regular season and, if all goes well, the playoffs. You could argue he is one of the Flyers' top six defensemen, though he hasn't always been used in that capacity.

Dealing Meszaros and his $4 million salary-cap hit would give the Flyers more cap room to make another trade.

In the Olympics, Meszaros - the winner of the Barry Ashbee Award as the Flyers' best defenseman in 2010-11 - played in all situations and was one of Slovakia's top defensemen.

Breakaways

With Kimmo Timonen given the night off, Wayne Simmonds was one of the alternate captains. . . . The Flyers play three games in their first four days back from the Olympic break.

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