Then and Now: Freddy Meyer

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In May of 2003, the Philadelphia Flyers signed defenseman Freddy Meyer to an entry-level contract. The mobile d-man was coming off a season at Boston University where he had five goals and 16 assists in 38 games as the Terriers’ captain.

During the 2003-2004 season with the Flyers’ organization, Meyer spent the majority of the campaign in the AHL with the Philadelphia Phantoms. He had the second-most goals for a blue liner on the team with 14 goals in 59 games, while John Slaney led the team with 19 goals in the same number of tilts as Meyer. The American defender also had 14 helpers, 50 PIMs, and a rating of plus-13.

It was during the same season that Meyer got his first taste of the NHL. One day after Philly’s infamous game with the Ottawa Senators on March 5th, 2004, which produced 419 PIMs, the Flyers visited the Washington Capitals. Meyer made the line-up for the 2-1 defeat on the road producing one shot, one hit, one giveaway, and blocking a shot in 15:24 TOI.

For the 2004 postseason, Meyer played with the Phantoms and suited up in all 12 of the team’s games. After Philadelphia beat the Norfolk Admirals 4-2 in the Eastern Division Semifinals they were beat by the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in six games the following round. Meyer had three assists and eight PIMs during the playoffs.

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The defenseman played in 59 games for the Phantoms during the 2004-2005 regular season as his totals for goals and assists both dropped from the prior year. Instead of 14 goals and 14 assists, Meyer registered six goals and nine helpers.

The Phantoms won their second Calder Cup in eight years during the 2005 playoffs. Philadelphia needed just 21 games to beat the Admirals, Penguins, Providence Bruins, and Chicago Wolves to earn the title, as Meyer participated in every single playoff contest for the Phantoms. He recorded three goals and nine assists in 12 games to serve as the highest-scoring defenseman for the Phantoms during their title run.

After the NHL resumed action during the 2005-2006 campaign, Meyer spent time with both the Phantoms and the Flyers.

The blue liner produced three goals and three assists in 11 tilts for the Phantoms, but his time with the Flyers was more impressive.

In 57 games with the Orange and Black during the 2005-2006 regular season Meyer potted six goals, his highest total for any of his seasons in the NHL. He also registered 21 helpers for his highest amount of assists in any of his seasons as a professional.

Meyer’s first NHL goal was a crucial one, as it tied the score at two late in the first period of a contest against the Carolina Hurricanes on December 29th, 2005. Philly went on to win the game 4-3 in overtime with a tally from Sami Kapanen.

His first taste of the NHL playoffs wasn’t too exciting, as Meyer took part in all six of the Flyers’ games in their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals’ loss to the Buffalo Sabres. In addition to eight PIMs and a minus-5 rating for the entire series, Meyer registered an assist on Petr Nedved’s power-play goal in the third period of Philly’s 5-4 win in Game 4.

Meyer also represented the United States of America at the 2007 IIHF World Championship, where the USA finished fifth in the 16-team tournament. He went pointless with six PIMs and a minus-2 rating in seven contests.

The 2006-2007 season marked the end of Meyer’s time in Philadelphia, as he was traded to the New York Islanders in December of 2006. After he netted two goals and three assists in 25 games for the Orange and Black, Paul Holmgren dealt the d-man and a conditional third-round pick in the 2007 NHL Draft to the Islanders in exchange for Alexei Zhitnik. With the 62nd overall pick in draft, the Isles picked defenseman Mark Katic, who played in 11 games for New York during the 2010-2011 regular season.

Zhitnik spent a total of 31 games with the Flyers before he was shipped to the Atlanta Thrashers for Braydon Coburn.

As for Meyer, he played in 35 games for the Islanders during the 2006-2007 campaign and failed to record a single goal in the process. The d-man had three assists and 24 PIMs for a club that squeaked into the postseason as an eight seed only to lose to the Sabres in five games. He didn’t participate in the playoffs due to a broken finger.

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The New Hampshire native was placed on waivers at the beginning of the 2007-2008 season by the Isles and picked up by the Phoenix Coyotes. Meyer played in five games for the Coyotes and eight contests with their AHL affiliate, the San Antonio Rampage, before being placed on waivers yet again. Just over a month after they placed him on waivers, the Islanders reclaimed the d-man off waivers from Phoenix. He recorded a total of two assists in his time with Phoenix’s organization, both of which came with the Rampage.

Once he was settled in as a member of the Islanders, Meyer notched three goals and nine helpers in 52 games during the regular season. Two of his three goals came in a three-game span that was spread over four days in the middle of February, as the pair of tallies were both game-winners.

After an empty-netter turned out to be the decisive goal in a 5-4 road victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Valentine’s Day of 2008, Meyer completed New York’s comeback from 2-0 down for a 3-2 win over the San Jose Sharks on February 18th.

The 2008-2009 campaign wasn’t kind to Meyer, as he missed 55 games due to injuries. After he missed 14 games near the beginning of the season due to an abdominal injury, Meyer missed 41 games from January to April due to a strained groin.

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In the 27 tilts Meyer did play in 2008-2009 he had four goals and five assists, as well as 14 PIMs. Unfortunately, he also finished with a minus-19 rating, his worst plus/minus rating for any season throughout his entire career.

The blue liner finished his time with the Islanders in the 2009-2010 season, as he registered four goals and 11 assists in 64 games for a team that finished 13th in the Eastern Conference.

In late August of 2010, Meyer signed a deal with the Thrashers. He signed a one-year two-way contract that earned him $600,000 in the NHL and $105,000 in the AHL.

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Meyer played in 15 contests for the Thrashers during their final season in Atlanta recording a goal and an assist. His final NHL goal came against his previous team, as he had the lone tally for Atlanta in a 4-1 loss to the Islanders on February 1st (go to :16). Unfortunately for Meyer, his final game and play in the NHL came days later in a rather scary scene.

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Only two days after his final goal in the NHL, Meyer was on the ice late in the second period against the Calgary Flames in a 2-2 game. After he collided with a few Flames in what seemed to be a series of routine plays, Meyer collapsed at center ice.

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“[Tim] Jackman and I rubbed each other out,” Meyer told Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution after the game. “[Curtis] Glencross got the puck, and I collided with him. I just started to feel dizzy. I thought to myself I need to try to get to the bench, and the next thing I know I woke up on the ice and [trainer] Tommy [Alva] was there.” (Thanks to Puck Daddy)

The defenseman joined the Elitserien in the 2011-2012 season, as he became a member of MODO HK. Other members of MODO that had ties to the Philadelphia organization that season were Patrik Hersley, Joonas Lehtivuori, and Ole-Kristian Tollefsen. Other NHLers on the squad last year included Mikael Tellqvist, Thomas Pock, Brett Skinner, Rob Schremp, and Mattias Ritola.

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Meyer played in 31 games during the 2011-2012 season, as he finished second on the team in scoring for a defenseman with three goals and nine assists. Pock was the only blue liner for MODO with more points, as he had 13 more points in 22 more games than Meyer.

MODO HK didn’t make the 2012 Elitserien postseason, but they did avoid playing in the 2012 Kvalserien.

On August 28th, Meyer was named assistant coach of the Manchester Monarchs, the Los Angeles Kings’ AHL affiliate that is based in Meyer’s home state of New Hampshire.

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“It is a great honor to be the next Assistant Coach of the Manchester Monarchs and to be part of the Los Angeles Kings organization,” Meyer told Jesse Connolly of the New England Hockey Journal.”Growing up in New Hampshire and playing youth hockey throughout New England, I look forward to returning to the Granite State and getting my coaching career started.”