The Philadelphia Flyers' blue line has gotten even thinner.
Defenseman Andrej Meszaros had surgery Tuesday morning to repair a torn right Achilles' tendon, general manager Paul Holmgren announced.
The 26-year-old Meszaros, just one year removed from winning the Barry Ashbee Trophy as the Flyers' best defenseman, was injured last week while training in his native Slovakia and is out indefinitely, Holmgren said.
He could miss the entire season, but Holmgren noted that former Flyer - and Ventnor summer resident - Justin Williams missed only a few months with the same injury in the 2002-03 season.
"We'll have a better idea after six weeks, once we see how things are progressing," Holmgren said in a video posted on the team's website.
The injury is another blow to a unit that already had suffered plenty. Team captain Chris Pronger has not played since November due to a concussion that likely has ended his career. In free agency, the Flyers unsuccessfully pursued Ryan Suter and Shea Weber, even signing Weber to an offer sheet as a restricted free agent before Nashville matched the deal. Philadelphia also lost Matt Carle, who signed a five-year deal with Tampa Bay.
The Flyers' returning defensemen include Kimmo Timonen, Braydon Coburn, Nick Grossmann, Marc-Andre Bourdon and Erik Gustafsson. They also acquired Luke Schenn via trade and Bruno Gervais via free agency.
Had the Flyers signed Weber and kept Meszaros healthy, they would have had Bourdon, Gustafsson and Gervais as extra defensemen. Instead, unless they make another move, two of those players likely will be forced into the starting lineup.
"We've got young kids we like," Holmgren said. "Marc-Andre Bourdon played a lot of games for us last year. Erik Gustafsson played a fair amount. Brandon Manning got his feet wet. So we do have some kids that we like, and we have four guys that have a lot of experience."
Holmgren noted that the team does have room under the salary cap to acquire another significant player.
"We'll see what the rest of the summer brings," he said.
The Flyers are just the latest Philadelphia team to be hit by a major Achilles injury. Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard missed the first half of this season. Eagles Pro Bowl tackle Jason Peters is expected to miss the entire season. And the 76ers recently cut Elton Brand, who was never the same player after an Achilles injury.