Philadelphia Flyers: It's a Plus/Minus Game for Andrej Meszaros

Dominic PerilliContributor IIIFebruary 9, 2011

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 25:  Andrej Meszaros #41 of the Philadelphia Flyers skates during an NHL hockey game against the Montreal Canadiens at the Wells Fargo Center on January 25, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

Before the start of this season, I wrote a piece here on Bleacher Report about the possible emergence of Andrej Meszaros after being picked up from Tampa Bay.

The title of the article was “Andrej Meszaros: The Man, The Myth, The Legend?”

Well, after his performance thus far, I think it’s safe to say that he is making some strides in his quest to be legendary here in Philadelphia.

With a team-leading plus/minus of plus-27, Meszaros has been one of the most consistent players on the team. Whether it comes in the form of a slapshot or a pass, it always seems that Mes is in on every goal or every big play that’s made.

While in Tampa, the biggest knock on Meszaros was that he couldn’t be a star defenseman and that he only played well when paired with a star. He’s obviously proving that assumption false.

Meszaros started out his career with Ottawa, where he was a plus-34 in his rookie season. The last two seasons with Tampa Bay, however, have been anything but stellar. In the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 seasons, Meszaros posted a minus-four and minus-14, respectively.

“It’s a whole team effort,” Meszaros said. “It’s nice to be ‘plus’ because the last few years haven’t been that good, but it has a lot to do with winning games and the guys up front scoring and playing good D.”

The last statement by Meszaros is interesting because it’s absolutely true.

Before Lightning GM Steve Yzerman took over the team in 2010, Tampa Bay absolutely underachieved. The Bolts scored just 217 goals in the 2009-2010 season. The league average is 233.

And if you think things were better in the 2008-2009 season, think again. Tampa scored just 210 goals, which was 29 goals less than the league average.

There is no doubt that Meszaros is better off here in Philly. The fact that the Flyers are such a good team lifts the pressure to perform off of his shoulders.

And when a player who “is always in someone else’s shadow” isn’t pressured, good things happen.