Really, We're This Close

A month ago both sides seem to be optimistic about a new deal. Now that training camp is fast approaching and Joe Sakic has re-signed (rejoice, hockey fans), Andrej Meszaros and the Sens seem to be drifting further and further apart. Despite claims from both sides in earlier months that a contract extension was near, it seems as though that may be quite contrary to the truth. The young rearguard, who is coming off a rather disappointing sophomore campaign after a marvelous rookie one, is asking for around $4.5m/year, while the Sens remain adamant that $3.5m/year is a much fairer number.

Should the Sens give in to Meszaros’ asking price, it would make him the Sens’ highest paid defenseman – fellow teammates Chris Phillips and Anton Volchenkov are playing for at least half their open market value. The length of the deal is apparently not a concern to Meszaros, but money is. Bryan Murray claims that he has offered the Meszaros camp contract offers ranging from one to five years, but has not heard much feedback, possibly because Meszaros is refusing to take into consideration any offer that isn’t near his asking price.

Meszaros is still currently a RFA and subject to offer sheets. While Murray won’t pony up $4.5m/year, you can bet that there are teams out there that will pay up for the former WHL standout, and force Murray’s hand. Should Murray lose Meszaros, he has stated that he will not be replacing him via trade of free agency, but will instead promote from within, which is great news for Lawrence Nycholat, Matt Kinch, and Matt Carkner, all three coming off good seasons with Binghamton, Ottawa’s AHL affiliate.

Either way, expect a flurry of moves after Mats Sundin makes his decision and Mathieu Schneider (which Murray claims he has little interest in) is moved.

EDIT: THN reports that a rival team has made an offer sheet to Meszaros for $5m/year, but Murray has denied any knowledge of such a thing and the Ottawa Sun claims that two league sources have denied it as well. The rumoured offer sheet was apparently made by Tampa, but that’s impossible. If the Lightning did make the offer sheet, they’d be subject to be give up their 1st, 2nd, and 3rd round picks. Under the CBA, all picks must be the team’s original picks – meaning that Tampa cannot substitute any of those picks with picks they’ve acquired from other teams. The Lightning’s original 3rd round pick is owned by Pittsburgh, who acquired it in the Ryan Malone and Gary Roberts trade.

This article has 9 Comments

  1. Carkner is not a legit NHL’er, from a regular shift stand point, he’s a fighter, think Belak.
    The current Sens defensive depth chart is Nycholat, and Bell.

  2. TSN is now reporting that Meszaros has been traded to Tampa, for “defencemen Filip Kuba and Alexandre Picard and a first round pick the Lightning previously acquired from the San Jose Sharks.”

    Sources add that Meszaros is expected to sign a six-year contract with the Lightning averaging $4 million a season.”

    For myself, I don’t think I like this. Meszaros has significant upside, whereas I see no such upside for Kuba and Picard. If the rumor mill is to be believed, that contract is only $500K a year above what Murray was offering Meszaros. Not enough to give up on him, IMO.

    We’ll see what Murray does in the next month or so….

  3. SensFan, Mesz has had two seasons to prove his “upside”, and has failed. You really think he should be paid in advance for this yet unproven “potential”?
    I think the mesage that would send would be far worse then any loss of potential Mesz may realize, MAY.

  4. Meszaros has tons of upside, but I don’t see him as a top pairing guy anytime soon. This trade might as well be an offer sheet – the price the Lightning paid was based on pure potential.

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