Meszaros promptly signs a 6 year $24million contract with th Lightning.
What the Sens get is a suitable short term replacement for the greedy Slovak Defenceman in Filip Kuba. Their career stats are compared below:
|1997-98||New Haven Beast||AHL||77||4||13||17||58||3||1||1||2||0|
|2006-07||Tampa Bay Lightning||NHL||81||15||22||37||36||6||1||4||5||4|
|2007-08||Tampa Bay Lightning||NHL||75||6||25||31||40||--||--||--||--||--|
As you can see, they have similar numbers and Kuba is a one year deal with $3million remaining on it as opposed to gambling on Meszaros for 6 years at $4million per. Simply put, if Kuba doesn't pan out, he's gone next season and there is cap space available to sign a covetted puck moving D-man and Powerplay Quarterback. But wait...... The Sens also received Alex Picard in the deal. This promising youngster could flourish under new coach, Craig Hartsburg. Picard is signed for 2 years at well under $1million per. But wait, the Sens ALSO got SJ's first round pick which would in all likelihood be a late pick, but that's exactly what Meszaros was in the first place.
Murray did some smart managing here.....again. Not only did he plug the hole left by the departed player in the short term, while avoiding a cap-unfriendly albatross of a contract in the long term, he also received potential long term replacement for said departed player in the terms of an NHL ready young defenseman and a draft pick that could also be used to replace said player long term. All under cap friendly terms.
Simply put, Meszaros was not worth the contract he signed with Tampa Bay. Murray refused to handcuff himself long term by caving in and moved him. Meszaros is as much a gamble as Picard or any other promising young defenseman. He had a great rookie year followed by 2 sub-par seasons. Would you be willing to risk 6 more years of sub par play? Would you be willing to handcuff your cap structure to find out? Would you be willing to gamble a good chunk of your teams cap space that Meszaros will rediscover his rookie form? Murray was not and took the safe road here. Kuba will be no worse than Meszaros was the past 2 seasons and has never really played on a decent team. He could surprise fans this season. Same could be said for Picard. He played on terrible Flyers team then on a horrible Lightning squad. I'd bet he steps it up playing for his hometown team with a decent defensive system in place. Both these players can easily replace a Meszaros even when he was at his best. Failing that, they can't be any worse than Andrej was at his worst. And if all that fails, the Sens get a third kick at the can with the draft pick. Niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice.