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BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins on Wednesday acquired defenseman Andrej Meszaros from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for a third-round draft pick.
Meszaros, 28, is a left-handed shot and has 517 games of NHL experience over nine seasons. He also has played for the Ottawa Senators and Tampa Bay Lightning. He was a teammate of Bruins captain Zdeno Chara and forward Chris Kelly in Ottawa, where Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli was the assistant GM at the time.
"Mezz skates extremely well, he's got a great shot and he's a big body," Kelly said. "He's a big, big guy. You'll see. He's a big, strong guy."
Meszaros will join the Bruins for Thursday's home game against the Washington Capitals.
"I'm really excited, obviously," Meszaros said. "It's a great opportunity, a great team and a great organization that I'm happy to be a part of. Obviously, I really liked it here in Philadelphia; it was great -- great guys, great organization. But this year wasn't working for me. I wasn't playing much, I was in and out of the lineup, so I'm happy now that I have the opportunity now to play hopefully more consistently and [get] better. I'm happy it will be a new, fresh start for me and I'm really excited."
The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Meszaros played in 38 games for the Flyers this season and was a healthy scratch in more than 20, with five goals and 12 assists for 17 points. He is averaging 17:22 of ice time per game and was a member of the Slovakian Olympic team.
Boston's defensive systems are different than he is used to, but he's confident he'll be able to make a seamless transition.
"I think every system is different and I don't think it's going to be hard for me to adjust to that," he said. "I think I'm pretty easy, anything the coach will tell me to do, I think I can pick it up really quickly. So I don't think I should have any problem with that."
The third-round pick Boston surrendered to Philadelphia to acquire Meszaros would become a second-round selection if the Bruins advance to the Eastern Conference finals this season and Meszaros plays in two-thirds of Boston's playoff games, or if Boston re-signs him prior to the start of the 2014 NHL draft. If those conditions aren't met but Boston re-signs Meszaros after the draft, Philadelphia would receive the Bruins' 2015 fourth-round pick in addition to the 2014 third-rounder.
In a minor deal Wednesday, the Bruins also claimed defenseman Corey Potter off waivers from the Edmonton Oilers.
Potter, 30, has spent the majority of his pro career in the AHL and has 120 games of NHL experience. Like Bruins defenseman Torey Krug, Potter is a product of Michigan State.
"I've known him for the last couple of years, and he's a real steady player," Krug said after the team's practice Wednesday at Ristuccia Arena. "He's not going to blow you away. He does everything well and has a real hard shot. He's a great personality, and I think the guys are going to enjoy him in the locker room, and that's what he brings to the table."
Potter played in 16 games for the Oilers and had five assists.
After Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg suffered a season-ending knee injury in December, Chiarelli said he wanted to add depth to the blue line. Since Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid (quad strain) remains sidelined and has been shut down for the next two to three weeks, the additions of Meszaros and Potter will help even things out for Boston.
Both additions are expected to arrive in Boston on Thursday, and it will be up to coach Claude Julien as to how he will insert them into the lineup.
Chiarelli has been scouting the Flyers for the past two months, and he watched all four of Slovakia's games during the Olympics. The GM also spoke with Chara about the possible addition of Meszaros, and everyone thought it was a good move.
"He's a big defenseman, thick defenseman," Chiarelli said.
Meszaros can play both sides, is heavy on the puck and likes to move it, Chiarelli said.
During his evening news conference, Chiarelli said the past three days have been busy. He entertained other options and said he was close on a few things, but he is comfortable with what he was able to accomplish.
"My main intention today was to bolster our depth," Chiarelli said.
Chiarelli described Potter as a two-way defenseman with good range and solid defensive skills.
As currently constituted, Chiarelli is pleased with the size, strength and ability of the team's defensive core. With Chara, Krug, Dougie Hamilton, Matt Bartkowski, Kevan Miller and Johnny Boychuk already manning the blue line for Boston, Potter and Meszaros will add to the depth Chiarelli was looking for.
"The defense isn't about one player, it's about the group as a whole and how they interact. That's the way our system is and that's the way our coach coaches," Chiarelli said. "These guys both are smart players, so it may take them some time, it usually takes time for the D to adapt to our system, new D we've brought in, and I expect the same to happen with these two. It's a good system, a system of trust, and I know they can both contribute to the group."