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Player: Andrej Meszaros
Age in 2017-18: 32
The Back Story: After three promising years in Ottawa, Meszaros appeared to lose his mojo in Tampa Bay, topping out at 17 points in 81 games in 2009-10. He appears revitalized in Philadelphia, putting up 32 points last season.
Meszaros is a rare breed of defenseman who manages to be a force on all parts of the ice. His offensive contributions are timely and consistent, and at 223 pounds, opposing forwards can never get comfortable in Meszaros’s territory.
Meszaros is a hitter, a shot blocker, and a clutch goal scorer. And given that he turns 26 after the start of this season, his brightest years are still ahead of him.
Where he fits in: With fun-sized Gustafsson as a puck mover and giant Coburn as a defensive presence, the 2017-18 Flyers will have a three-headed monster if Meszaros is playing both ends of the ice.
The Slovak would round out the defensive corps and be one of the most feared veteran leaders in the league. Meszaros’s flexible style of play would mesh well with that of Couturier, Schenn and Claude Giroux, allowing the forwards and defenseman to smoothly rotate their positions without finding themselves out of position.
Most importantly, Meszaros would be a force on the point during power plays, using his stifling slapshot to get pucks on net.
He is currently signed through 2014-15, but at his current pace, the Flyers will want to invest in Meszaros well beyond that season.