The shocking news of defenseman Kimmo Timonen's blood clots in his right leg and both lungs has impacted the Flyers. Obviously concern for Timonen is at the forefront but general manager Ron Hextall was faced with a tough choice. Worry about Timonen while also trying to construct the Flyers roster late in the summer to accommodate the loss of the puck-moving defenseman.
Hextall countered the Timonen news by signing defenseman Michael Del Zotto to a one-year, $1.3 million contract, a low-risk, high-reward move for the Flyers.
Timonen and Hextall met with the media on Wednesday to discuss his future. "Kimmo will not play for a period of time here, meaning months," Hextall explained. "First and foremost we’re concerned about him and his family."
Timonen later added, "The chance of me playing is really slim. That’s the facts."
Adding Del Zotto doesn't fully make up for the loss of Timonen. Hextall spoke with Adam Kimelman of NHL.com last month about the Flyers roster and touched on the Timonen illness.
"There's no question it's a setback, there's no other way to explain it. But we'll adjust and we'll do what we can to make the team better," Hextall told Kimelman. "But we'll see what happens. But absolutely, you can't take not only the player but I think the experience and the calm and the poise and the respect that Kimmo has in the locker room and say you didn't take a step back."
The 39-year-old Timonen signed a one-year, $2 million contract extension with the Flyers in June that features heavy incentives for the long-time Flyers defenseman. The Finnish Olympian has been one of the most consistent players on the Flyers blue line for the last seven seasons. In 77 games this season, Timonen scored six goals and added 29 assists for 35 points. In seven seasons in Philadelphia, he has scored 38 goals and dished out 232 assists for 270 points. The 232 assists are 10 more than he had in eight seasons in Nashville.
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