Lightning acquires Meszaros
In a not unexpected but still interesting deal, the Lightning acquired the negotiating rights to Senators unsigned defenseman Andrej Meszaros. The Lightning sent Ottawa defensemen Filip Kuba and Alex Picard and the Sharks first-round pick in 2009, acquired in the Dan Boyle deal.
Meszaros, 22, who has 16 goals and 71 points the past two seasons, and six power-play goals last season, is expected to be signed quickly. An announcement could come Saturday, though Brian Lawton, the Lightning's vice president of hockey operations said Friday night Meszaros was not yet signed.
Canada's TSN reported the contract could be six years, $24-million. That averages out to $4-million a season which makes the payroll swap almost even. Sending Kuba ($3-million) and Picard ($750,000) to Ottawa clears the payroll space. Sending out Kuba, who had to waive his no-trade clause, is not a shock. Sending out Picard, whom the Lightning have said again and again how much they love was a bit of a surprise. Still, the Lightning have secured another puck-moving defenseman that will help the transition and spark the power play in a way Picard could not.
Moving Kuba, who at 31 and with 531 games was the Lightning's most experienced blue-liner, creates a corps that is relatively young and inexperienced. But Tampa Bay obviously thought Meszaros' upside was worth it.
"We think this is really something special," Lawton said of Meszaros. "He's a 22-year-old player who has never missed a game, has played in a Stanley Cup final, has been anywhere from a No. 3 to a No. 2 on an elite team in the National Hockey League and he's 22 years old. It's scary to think where he's going to get to as a player."