PHILADELPHIA, Pa – As expected the Philadelphia Flyers went for defense at this year’s NHL Trade Deadline but did it at a huge risk. Yesterday the Flyers got the ball rolling by getting defenseman Andrew McDonald from the New York Islanders for a 3rd round pick in 2014 and a 2nd round pick in 2015. Today the Flyers moved potential unrestricted free agent Andrej Mezsaros to the Boston Bruins for a conditional 3rd round pick in 2014 but could become a higher draft pick depending on how far the Bruins go in the playoffs.
The moves essentially look like a wash unless McDonald doesn’t sign with the Flyers in the off-season but you can bet the Flyers will do everything they can to resign him. The moves also looks like the trading of third round picks for this season but with the Bruins looking as strong as ever expect the pick to be higher than a third rounder.
Because the trade did not go through a conference call with the NHL at the time GM Paul Holmgren had announced it to the local media, word that another draft pick or player could also be involved in the trade with Boston will be announced later today.
Moving Mezsaros is a huge risk on the part of the Flyers especially since Kimmo Timonen does not usually last an entire season without missing some time later in the season. Erik Gustafsson, who leads the team in plus minus (+9) will be the first call-up should sometime happen on the blueline. Consistency is what Gustafsson lacks to be a regular in the lineup according to Holmgren.
Still, the trades over the past two days means that the Flyers didn’t add anyone to the lineup, just swapped UFA’s for one another. It is hard to figure what the benefit to the Flyers will be if they make the playoffs but the name of the game in hockey comes down to goaltending so the moves wont matter much if Mason or Emery don’t play up to Stanley Cup winning standards.