Today's NYI Fan Central review is on defenseman Freddy Meyer and his wild ride in 2007-08 which I'm not sure has precedent.
Entering 2007-08 there were a lot of tough questions to be asked of Freddy Meyer.
Garth Snow traded for him from Philadelphia in 2006-07 and never really was healthy long enough to get a good idea what he could do beyond a good rookie season with Philadelphia. To be fair he hung in with hand problems as long as he could before shutting it down late in the season. He was praised by the club for playing with the injury as long as he did.
Having written all that Freddy Meyer was clearly on the outside looking in entering training camp with nine spots for six defenders. Once Bryan Berard was finally signed it seemed someone was going to go and sure enough it was Meyer placed on waivers who was claimed by Phoenix who demoted him to the AHL.
This is where things got kind of strange. Isles situation suddenly changed on defense with players starting to get hurt or were ineffective. Phoenix put him on
re-entry waivers, Garth Snow claimed him back at a percentage of his contract and the Coyotes had to pay for someone they never gave a chance to play.
It took a while for him after that to finally get a chance from the Isles. He got little press when he left and it was barely a footnote he was reacquired.
He finally stepped into Islander the lineup in early December and we got to see the healthy version of Freddy Meyer, who was not the scorer he was as a rookie with Philadelphia but someone who adapted well to Ted Nolan's system and looked like a stopper on defense. He won the puck in the corners, made the safe, smart play to get the puck out of the slot and held his position well.
He never was scratched again.
Here is where things got even more strange.
As quickly as he was placed on waivers, Garth Snow just as quickly signed him to a two year contract extension and both sides never looked back after only a few weeks of solid play. His two goals were critical in the Isles six game winning streak in February and on a club deep in negative player ratings, Meyer finished with a plus six.
It was about as strange a season as it gets for Freddy Meyer but next year he enters camp with his two year extension and a spot in the top six if healthy. Isles need his offensive game to improve but would likely more than settle for the same steady defense he gave them last year.
I cannot hold it against him not being played by the staff or placing him on waivers, he came back and did an excellent job when he got a chance and did it with a lot of adversity on the backline with a very poor offense. Ted Nolan put his name in the lineup every game after he returned and he earned his spot.
Freddy Meyer receives an A for overcoming a ton of adversity and showing what he can do for a club when healthy and given a chance. It was not flashy but it was impressive.
And it was one heck of a wild ride.
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