What will Andrej Meszaros’ role be with Bruins?
|03.06.14 at 12:56 pm ET|
Andrej Meszaros is here, so now what?
Meszaros gives the Bruins seven healthy NHL defensemen for now, and eight once Corey Potter arrives. Potter is more of a clear-cut depth guy, but the B’s will have seven definite NHL guys on the back end for an extended period for the first time since early in the season, when Matt Bartkowski served as a floating healthy scratch of sorts, being rotated in and out of the lineup for Dougie Hamilton and Adam McQuaid.
Bartkowski is a healthy scratch no more and is the team’s No. 4 defenseman, a role that the left-shooting Meszaros probably would like to wrest from the 25-year-old. Meszaros won’t play Thursday (marking his 25th healthy scratch of the season), but he will get into the lineup at some point. The Bruins didn’t part with a third-round pick so they could sit a guy the rest of the way, so it will be interesting to see if the B’s rotate guys in and out of the lineup down the stretch.
“We’ll have to wait and see,” Claude Julien said. “All this stuff happened yesterday and I haven’t sat down and made any types of scenarios. But we need to see him practice a little bit and skate with us and we’ll see. At one point you’re going to see him in our lineup, and a lot of it will depend on players’ play. All of them.”
Furthering the idea of a rotation is the fact that Meszaros plays both sides, meaning he could go into the lineup for a number of players, from Bartkowski to Kevan Miller or even one of the team’s veteran defensemen if the B’s want to give anyone a breather.
Meszaros had served as a right defenseman for the Flyers over the last three seasons in Peter Laviolette‘s system. Under current Philadelphia coach Craig Berube, he played the left side when he was in the lineup.
“I really enjoyed the right side because I was up in the play more and up in the rush,” Meszaros said of his role under Laviolette. “The way we played for [Berube], it was different. Both D were stepping up or doing things, so it didn’t matter to me. I kind of liked it. After 10-plus years, it doesn’t really matter to me going left to right.”
“When a defenseman can play both sides, it makes him a more valuable player, and that was one of the things with Meszaros, is that he can play both sides,” Peter Chiarelli said after acquiring the player. “It can change during the game. The same way Claude likes to use more than one center on a line, I know he likes to switch his D around, so we give him that option. It’s another tool, and it’s some more depth.”
Meszaros obviously wasn’t Boston’s first option at the trade deadline, but if all goes well, he could be a logical fit for them. The 6-foot-2, 223-pounder is big and strong and the team like what he brings offensively. That doesn’t mean he’s Dennis Seidenberg, a guy who brings all those things and also is a lefty with experience on both sides, but it does mean he could earn some of the minutes for which the team needs to account since losing Seidenberg.
“He’s an experienced player; I think he’s proved [that] over the years,” Julien said. “He’s a big body as well. Offensively he supports the attack well, he’s been known to be a pretty good offensive-type defenseman. So with that big body and the way we play I’m sure he will defend well also. Again, I think it will be a matter of time to see how well he fits with us.”