Meszaros out indefinitely after tearing Achilles
The bad news just keeps coming for defenseman Andrej Meszaros -- and for the Flyers' blue line as a whole.
Just days after general manager Paul Holmgren said Meszaros was completely healed from last season's back surgery, the 26-year-old blueliner underwent surgery to repair a torn right Achilles tendon, according the Flyers' official Twitter account
"Andrej had successful surgery this morning to repair a torn right Achilles tendon," Holmgren said in a statement. "The surgery was performed by Dr. Steve Raikin at Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia.
"Andrej was injured last week during summer training in Slovakia. Andrej will be out indefinitely."
According to a source, the playoffs are a realistic goal for his return.
The typical recovery period for a torn Achilles can be six to eight months or more, which means Meszaros is possibly in danger of missing the entire 2012-13 season.
Meszaros is the third Philadelphia athlete to suffer an injured Achilles
tendon in the past year: Phillies first basemen Ryan Howard tore his
left Achilles in October 2011 and Eagles offensive lineman Jason Peters ruptured
his right Achilles in March.
The loss is a big one for the Flyers' defense, especially given the assumed absence of Chris Pronger, the departure of free agent Matt Carle for Tampa Bay last month and the failed attempts to acquire defensemen Ryan Suter and Shea Weber. Meszaros, when healthy, is one of the team's top D-men. No matter how you look at it, the Flyers' D is weaker now than it was a year ago.
Meszaros missed the final six weeks of the Flyers' season and all but one of the team's 11 playoff games in 2011-12 after undergoing surgery to repair a small disc fracture in his lower back. He finished the season with seven goals and 18 assists in 62 games -- making him the third-highest scoring defenseman on last season's roster, behind only Kimmo Timonen and Carle. He averaged 20:40 on ice per night.
The irony here is that, days ago, the Flyers actually had too many
defensemen on the roster, despite concerns that the unit as a whole was weaker than last season's. Now, without Meszaros for the foreseeable future, the pressure that was already on Holmgren to improve the Flyers' defense before the fall is even further amplified.
Still, though, the options to improve remain limited. While a handful of unrestricted free agents remain (Carlo Claiacovo of St. Louis is one option that may make sense for the Flyers), it's becoming more and more likely Holmgren could be forced to make a trade (see story)
The team did make two additions on defense this off-season: James van Riemsdyk was traded to the Toronto Maple leafs in exchange for Luke Schenn, and the Flyers signed free agent Bruno Gervais in July.
Neither of those players, however, is a suitable replacement for Meszaros.Tim Panaccio contributed to this story.E-mail Sarah Baicker at email@example.com