Back in August 2008, the Sens swapped young defenseman Andrej Meszaros to Tampa Bay for Filip Kuba, Alexandre Picard and a first round pick . Some thought dealing a young d-man like Meszaros was a mistake (like myself) and others felt Bryan Murray robbed Tampa Bay blind. Meszaros did struggle with the Lightning, some of it due to injuries, but he's found a new lease on life in Philly while Kuba has regressed in the Ottawa organization after a strong start, also a result of injuries.
Just for comparisons sake, here's how the two have stacked up statistically since the deal (as of Oct. 12, including Mesz's game Wed. night where he got the game winning goal against Vancouver):
Who got the better of the deal if we take Picard and the draft pick (which the Senators sent to the Islanders along with Dean McAmmond for Chris Campoli and Mike Comrie) out of the equation?
Kuba has significantly more points but is trending downwards while Meszaros is trending up. Kuba's cap hit is 3.7 million in the last year of his deal while Meszaros carries a 4 million tag for a couple more seasons. Money is basically even and so are the stats when it all shakes out in the end. The plus/minus category is more an indication of weak Senators teams and one year in Philly on a great team for Mesz. Plus/Minus is the most overrated statistic for defenseman anyways. Good defenseman on bad teams will get buried in that category. Even good d-men on good teams can get burned by it. Nicklas Lidstrom was -2 last year and won the Norris.
But I guess it comes down to who you would rather have on your blueline right now. I'm guessing 29 out of 30 GM's would pick Meszaros because at 25 years old he's just beginning to enter his prime years. Okay, more like 30 out of 30 but we shouldn't expect Bryan Murray to throw himself under the bus.
You could say Ottawa won this deal in the short term because Kuba excelled while Meszaros struggled. But now let's take into account the other components of the deal. Picard was a bust on the blueline (he was a throw-in anyways) and the first rounder was essentially wasted because Comrie struggled in his second stint in Ottawa and Campoli can only be described as a disappointment before he was shuttled off to Chicago for depth player Ryan Potulny and a second rounder.
Yet Murray used that second rounder in a package to get Detroit's first in 2011 with which they chose winger Matt Puempel, someone who the organization is very high on.
I still think it was a mistake to trade a young player like Meszaros instead of paying him, but Ottawa was under a different kind of salary-cap pressure than they are facing now. Hockeywise, the deal doesn't look great (but it's not a landslide either), yet whoever said modern trades were about hockey? It's all salary-cap, probably for the rest of our hockey watching days. If it wasn't Meszaros gone, somebody else would have been dealt.
But if Kuba has a good year and the Sens make the playoffs, or if he can get some more value for this team on the trade market....and... if Puempel turns out to be the goal-scorer this team thinks he will be down the line.... well, this saga will be far from over.
This deal will end up being so convoluted and open to interpretation, it will make the movie Inception look like Ernest Goes To Camp.