The Lightning handed Andrej Meszaros a hefty six-year, $24 million contract just a day after trading for his rights from the Ottawa Senators. In addition to handing over the bag to Meszaros, the Lightning also surrendered what would have been their second pick in the first round of the 2009 NHL draft. That draft pick would eventually be used on Kyle Palmieri after the pick changed hands multiple times.
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After trading away Dan Boyle, the Lightning had a severe need for another defenseman capable of holding their own and posting some points. Meszaros seemed to fit that mold after the big defenseman posted over 30 points in each of his first three NHL seasons with Ottawa. Meszaros struggled with injuries in his first season with the Lightning and only managed to play 52 games and collected just 33 points over his two seasons as the Lightning failed to make the playoffs in both seasons.
Meszaros could have found himself further up on this list if the Lightning could not get out from under his lengthy contract after just two years. If Meszaros continued to struggle with the Lightning and played out the remainder of the term, he could have been on the hook for possibly the worst free-agent signing in the franchise’s history.