Thursday, August 25, 2005

Sens shore up D, sign Meszaros

The Ottawa Senators have signed 2004 first round pick (23rd overall) defenceman Andrej Meszaros to a three-year entry level contract.

Meszaros had his first year of North American hockey last year with the Vancouver Giants of the WHL. He was named the team's best defenceman and finished sixth in WHL rookie scoring with 11 goals and 30 assists. He also has extensive international experience, playing in the last two World Junior Championships for Slovakia.

Though big at 6'2", Meszaros is not a physical, bruising defenceman first. He's a offensive blueliner who can skate, pass, handle the puck, and score. According to those who've followed his development, his defensive game needs work, but most expect it will improve with experience and maturity. It's also been said that he needs to fill out in order to be able to sustain the NHL style, but he's been playing with grown men for years, having spent a season and a half in the senior Slovak Extraleague, where he was very successful.

With the departure of veteran Greg de Vries in the Dany Heatley-Marian Hossa trade, a roster spot opened up for a defenceman. It's expected that Meszaros and well regarded 23-year-old German prospect Christoph Schubert, who had a strong season last year in the AHL with the Baby Sens, will fight for the last defenceman spot. I would think that which ever doesn't make it will not be the seventh reserve defenceman, and instead be sent to the minors to ensure they get the playing time their development needs. Unlike Meszaros, Schubert is said to be primarily a defensive defenceman, so it might simply come down to what new head coach Bryan Murray feels the team needs from that spot.

Of course, in today's Ottawa Sun, there is a blurb about the Senators possibly bringing back veteran defenceman and Ottawa area native Jason York, a move I'm been saying for months the Senators should look into. It's said that after trading de Vries, the team contacted the former Sen about the idea. Back in June, York told the Ottawa Citizen that he would be willing to take much less money to come back to his former team, where he has enjoyed his most success. York lives in the city in the offseason so that would likely be a factor as well.
EDIT: Thankfully newspaper editors work pro bono on blogs.


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At 5:51 PM, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Interesting... I was also thinking of writing about Long Island buses.

Anyway, while Meszaros will probably eventually be an NHL defenceman, I'm skeptical he can step right in this season. My guess is that they do bring in York for close to the league minimum.

ps. Your headline should read 'shore up.' Sorry for being a grammar grump.

At 8:55 PM, Blogger aquietgirl said...

One more comment like that and you're turning into Tom Benjamin, Mirtle. ;)

At 9:32 PM, Blogger Brett Mirtle said...

I saw Meszaros several times last year and to be honest, he was either a huge hit or a large bust. He's got loads of offensive talent, but sometimes he doesn't make the smart plays defensively.

Maybe there was an adjustment period for him, who knows. I also agree that he will be an NHL defenseman one day, but don't expect big things from the get go.


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