The shocking news that surfaced this afternoon of defenseman Kimmo Timonen's blood clots in his right leg and both lungs forced the Flyers to make a move to bolster their blue line. The team announced they signed free agent defenseman Michael Del Zotto to a one-year deal. TSN's Darren Dreger reports the deal is worth $1.3 million.
Del Zotto, 24, broke into the NHL as a 19-year-old in 2009-10 with the New York Rangers scoring nine goals and dishing out 28 assists for 37 points and coming in eighth in the Calder Trophy (Rookie of the Year) voting. After an injury-marred 2010-11 season, Del Zotto had a strong 2011-12 season scoring 10 goals and dishing out 31 assists for 41 points while finishing in 12th place in the Norris Trophy (best defenseman) voting.
Over the last two seasons though, Del Zotto has not been the same player. He has been turnover prone while his offensive numbers have dipped scoring three goals and dishing out 18 assists in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season before falling out of favor in New York midway through 2013-14. The Rangers traded Del Zotto to Nashville in January. Overall in 2013-14, he scored three goals with 16 assists in 67 games between the Rangers and Predators.
Del Zotto was making $2.55 million last season so getting him cheap at $1.3 million is a great deal for the Flyers. His stock is low but he has proved in the past that he can be an offensive weapon on the blueline so the reward could be high. There is no guarantee Del Zotto returns to his 2011-12 form and the fact it took the Flyers until August to sign him says the team wasn't exactly convinced he could but at just 24 years old, Del Zotto has a chance to make this a solid investment for the Flyers.
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