WHAT THE FLYERS TRADES MEAN
PHILADELPHIA – There were a lot of rumors, a lot of rumblings, names, packages, debates… you know, the typical trade deadline fare.
That was it for the Flyers.
From their perspective, it was an upgrade of the third pairing on defense that also brought financial savings and at an affordable price.
It also was an opportunity to improve the team without parting with any of the prospects that have re-filled the organizational cupboard in recent years and set up the Flyers to be in a good spot with cap space and assets heading into the offseason.
With a younger team that is just beginning to hit its stride, that’s a good place to be.
First, let’s rehash the trades:
MacDonald, 27, was acquired Tuesday from the New York Islanders in exchange for a third round pick in the 2014 draft, a second round pick in the 2015 draft and Phantoms forward Matt Mangene.
Meszaros was traded to Boston Wednesday for a conditional 20014 third round pick. The third round pick becomes a second rounder if Boston reaches the Conference Finals and Meszaros plays in at least 2/3 of all of the Bruins 2014 Playoff games or if Boston re-signs Meszaros to a contract before the start of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.
If neither condition is met, it remains a third rounder but if Boston signs Meszaros after the start of the 2014 NHL entry draft for the 2014-15 season, the Flyers pick up an additional fourth round pick from Boston in 2015.
MacDonald is a pending unrestricted free agent, but he said this morning he would definitely consider signing with the Flyers before free agency hit in July and general manager Paul Holmgren added that he’d like to sign MacDonald beyond this season.
As long as both sides reach a reasonable number, it should prove to be worth the trade.
Couple the fact that there is mutual interest in getting a deal done with the fact that the Flyers will get at least one draft pick back – if not more – in the Meszaros trade with Boston, and it’s almost like the Flyers swapped the defensemen for one another – which is a win for the Flyers.
That’s not a knock on Meszaros, who was playing better hockey of late and should be rejuvenated in Boston where he will be reunited with Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli – who he knows from their time together in Ottawa but also with fellow Slovak defenseman and good friend Zdeno Chara.
He will be a nice addition for the Bruins as they make their playoff run as well, but there are other factors at play here.
The Flyers were going to lose Meszaros at the end of the season anyway because he is a pending unrestricted free agent.
The difference in salary between Meszaros ($4.1 million) and MacDonald ($550,000) is significant enough to save the Flyers about $700,000 for the remainder of this season and crazily fell out of the top 10 in the NHL in salaries for the first time. They will also finish below the salary cap for the first time since it was instituted.
Couple their $6.4 million in cap space with the expected $6 million increase in the cap next year and the possibility of about $11 million in money that will come off the books with current unrestricted free agents and well… the Flyers are going to have some significant cap room to play with, as well as draft picks and a good collection of prospects as assets.
Needless to say, the Flyers, who are poised to make a run this season with the team they have in place – have positioned themselves brilliantly for next season and beyond.
So, if they sign MacDonald to a 4-year, $16 million contract like the one he turned down in New York, they’d still have plenty of room to address other needs as well.
All in all, it was a good trade deadline day for the Flyers and they did very little. But sometimes, less is more, and in this instance, the Flyers got a lot more for themselves down the road by not jumping into the trade frenzy.
To contact Anthony SanFilippo, email email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @InsideTheFlyers