Friday, August 29, 2008

The Rumour Mill: More Meszaros offer sheet news

The Andrej Meszaros offer sheet has really picked up steam since yesterday, and has now been reported in the Ottawa Sun by Bruce Garrioch. Garrioch has suggested the team is the Tampa Bay Lightning, and the only thing holding them up is re-acquiring a third-round pick from the Pittsburgh Penguins to complete the compensation package. (There are rumours that Tampa has re-acquired said third-round pick, but don't bet the house on them.)

Craig Custance of The Sporting News has contacted sources and suggested that Atlanta, Phoenix, and Columbus were not suitors for the Meszaros offer sheet.

The other possibility, as Garrioch (and others) have explored, is that Tampa Bay--or whatever team is involved--is using the offer sheet to force Bryan Murray to trade Meszaros, or face losing him to an offer sheet. I'm not sure what team will put together a better package than a first-, second-, and third-round pick, but I suppose immediate help in the form of a decent defenceman could do the trick.

I suppose we'll have to see. Although only Murray can decide whether or not to match the offer sheet, most fans and bloggers are suggesting there's no way he'll do so. Which means Murray will once again have to use his creativity to solve the Senators' shallow defence, because I don't think Lawrence Nycholat, Brian Lee, and Brendan Bell are the puck-moving defencemen this team needs.

EDIT: A bit of clarification from Adam Proteau, who initially broke the Meszaros offer-sheet rumours, suggests that Pens GM Ray Shero is not interested in trading the Lightning's third-round draft pick if it means he's supporting an RFA offer sheet, and Murray is not interested in talking trade for Meszaros. If those two rumours are facts, Tampa Bay is not going to be able to acquire Meszaros directly.

An interesting backstory is that Shero, who must have been scared of RFA offer sheets for many of his young prospects, is working against one happening (a bit of solidarity). Or that some GMs are looking at the aggressive nature of the T-Bay management situation, and aren't liking what they're seeing so they're not playing along. The Meszaros Saga couldn't have been scripted to have more drama.
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