After finding out they would be without veteran defenseman Kimmo Timonen for the foreseeable future, the Flyers made quick work of trying to fill the void left behind by the Finnish fan favorite. Not even 12 hours after the injury news regarding Timonen surfaced, the team announced they have agreed on a one-year deal with free agent defenseman Michael Del Zotto.
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) August 5, 2014
Del Zotto, 24, will almost certainly step into a top-six defenseman role after GM Ron Hextall announced he did not want to rush any of the team’s young prospects to the NHL level. The offensive-oriented blue liner has struggled for stability over his young career after bursting onto the scene with the New York Rangers. After averaging just under 30 points over his first three seasons, he has just 32 over the last two campaigns. He finished his most recent season with the Nashville Predators after New York traded him earlier in 2013-2014.
The financial information for the deal came courtesy of Darren Dreger.
$1.3 mil for Del Zotto in Philly.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) August 5, 2014
It’s tough to say what the expectations for Del Zotto are. He has had a rocky road since such a promising start and has been unable to gain much traction with head coaches John Tortorella, Alain Vigneault, or Barry Trotz. Clearly, the Flyers were operating from a position of desperation. That being said, head coach Craig Berube is a no-nonsense guy much like the aforementioned trio. It will be interesting to see just how much leeway the new acquisition is given and what types of responsibilities are handed to him. Nevertheless, the Flyers avoid forcing one of their prized defensive prospects into the starting lineup and picked up a player with the potential to pick up some of the offensive prowess lost with Timonen’s situation.