Photo Credit: Kevin Hoffman/USA Today Sports
The Flyers were forced to make a move after the team announced that defenseman, Kimmo Timonen, is being treated for blood clots in his lower right leg and both lungs. The team is unsure if and when Timonen will return to the linep. The signing put the Flyers over the salary cap, but they will put Chris Pronger on the long-term injury reserve, or LTIR, to free up cap space. They could potentially put Timonen on the LTIR too, which would free up another $2 million.
Del Zotto is coming off of a disappointing season which he split between the New York Rangers and the Nashville Predators. The Predators decided not to give him a qualifying offer so he became an unrestricted free agent this offseason. The defenseman score three goals, had 13 assists for 16 points in 67 games played last season while averaging 17:12 in ice time per game. In 25 games with the Predators, he had only one goal, four assists, five points and was a minus four. Del Zotto is only 24 years old and was drafted in 2008 by the Rangers, but was traded last season to the Predators in exchange for defenseman Kevin Kline after not being able to live up to expectation set by the team.
Del Zotto won’t throw his body around a lot, but he can skate as well as play the point on the power play. He averaged 1:19 of power play time per game last season. Mark Streit will likely be the defenseman on the point for the first power play unit, but Del Zotto could potentially quarterback the second unit. He can score, but has to work on his defensive zone coverage and be more careful when he has the puck.
The defenseman has 27 goals. 99 assists, 126 points and is a minus eight in 317 career games played while averaging 20:07 of ice time per game. He has played in 32 career playoff games where he has three goals, nine assists, 12 points and is a minus seven and averaged 21:28 of ice time per game.
The signing is low risk for the Flyers since the cap hit is reportedly only $1.3 million, but has the potential to have high reward. Del Zotto is coming off of a bad season and has something to prove, which could be a good thing for the Flyers.