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That was fast: Flyers sign Del Zotto to one-year, $1.3M deal

Aug 5, 2014, 7:27 PM EDT

MichaelDelZotto Getty Images

It didn’t take long for Ron Hextall to find Kimmo Timonen’s replacement.

Just hours after losing Timonen’s services to a blood clotting issue, the Flyers inked former Rangers and Predators defenseman Michael Del Zotto to a one-year deal. Del Zotto, 24, split last season between New York and Nashville and had a nightmarish time in both cities, landing in both Alain Vigneault’s and Barry Trotz’s doghouses.

A former first-round pick, Del Zotto was at one point considered an up-and-coming young blueliner. He finished eighth in Calder voting on the strength of a 37-point campaign in 2009-10 and had a banner year in 2011-12, scoring a career-high 10 goals and 41 points to finish 12th in Norris voting (ahead of Duncan Keith, if you can imagine that.)

But that feels like a long time ago.

Last season was so bad that, according to the New York Post, one NHL club claimed Del Zotto’s reputation was “in tatters.” Nashville didn’t even bother giving him a qualifying offer after he scored just one goal and five points in 25 games, occasionally sitting as a healthy scratch.

In Philadelphia, though, he’ll certainly have a chance to revive his career.

Philly’s new projected top-six defense is Mark Streit, Braydon Coburn, Andrew MacDonald, Nicklas Grossmann, Luke Schenn and Nick Schultz — hardly an impenetrable unit, and one that should provide Del Zotto an opportunity to find minutes. What’s more, he’s an offensive defenseman and Philly is looking to replace some of what Timonen brought to the table — namely on the power play. Timonen was second on the team in PP TOI last season (3:25 per game), and led all Flyer rearguards with 20 power play points.

UPDATE: Per TSN, the deal is for $1.3 million. Assuming Timonen’s $2 million cap hit goes on LTIR, the Flyers get Del Zotto and an additional $700k of relief, which isn’t too shabby.

  1. 7mantel - Aug 5, 2014 at 7:30 PM

    Good move by both the Flyers and MDZ ! Always liked MDZ ,the kid just lost confidence .

  2. blackheart78 - Aug 5, 2014 at 7:34 PM

    I am looking forward to reading the comments that are going to be made for this story.

    • jpelle82 - Aug 6, 2014 at 10:55 AM

      i dont see how they could go off the rails too much. this is just a bang up job by hextall.

  3. phillyphan93 - Aug 5, 2014 at 7:41 PM

    Well done! Tons of upside with this guy.

    • elrock7 - Aug 5, 2014 at 9:09 PM

      Ed Van Imp would have been a better pick up than this guy.

  4. sportsfaninyyc - Aug 5, 2014 at 7:42 PM

    Flyers won’t make the playoffs this year.

    • broadstreetbeatdown - Aug 5, 2014 at 7:47 PM

      Just like last year right?

    • flyerspsu - Aug 5, 2014 at 7:54 PM

      will be close, its pretty much up to Giroux and Mason and if young guys like schenn and couturier can take their game to the next level

      the Flyers are on like a 4 year program waiting for their defense prospects to develop before the team can really do anything

      • broadstreetbeatdown - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:13 PM

        A couple of those prospects will be ready before four years.

      • flyerspsu - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:37 PM

        But they will just be young promising dmen and not yet big x factors, I’m thinking about sanheim and at least year or 2 in the league for ghost, Morin and hagg

  5. bodallasss - Aug 5, 2014 at 7:43 PM

    MDz only signed so giroux would touch his butt

    • broadstreetbeatdown - Aug 5, 2014 at 7:49 PM

      Surprising comment for a poster whose handle ends in “asss”

  6. flyerspsu - Aug 5, 2014 at 7:46 PM

    good move

  7. stakex - Aug 5, 2014 at 7:53 PM

    No surprise here. Despite having a bad reputation right now, this move has little downside for Philly. If Del Zotto can recapture his offensive touch from a couple years ago, even with his defensive short comings, it will be a huge win…. if not, its only for one season.

    Its also worth pointing out that Del Zotto’s situation was made worse by the fact that both the Rangers and Nashville had very deep defenses. That resulted in his removal from the roster at the slightest hint of problems…. something that’s not great for the confidence. That shouldn’t be a problem in Philly.

  8. phtjoey - Aug 5, 2014 at 8:04 PM

    Flyers had a terrible d last year, and now they turn to an unwanted “if he could” player. It’s going to be another ugly display of d play by the d core.

    • broadstreetbeatdown - Aug 5, 2014 at 9:13 PM

      Still good enough to get into the playoffs.

      • phtjoey - Aug 5, 2014 at 9:49 PM

        what’s your point?15 other teams made it to the playoffs.

      • broadstreetbeatdown - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:08 PM

        My point is that 14 teams with a much worse defense don’t.

      • phtjoey - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:23 PM

        oh! well! then! that’s like drinking your sorrows away. next day your problems are still there.

      • broadstreetbeatdown - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:26 PM

        Um yeah, looks like you’ve been drinking tonight.

      • phil0028 - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:21 PM

        I think the point was that defense last year was good enough to get them into the playoffs.

      • phtjoey - Aug 6, 2014 at 8:41 AM

        good for them. my point is that their defense wasn’t good enough to get them the SC. shouldn’t that be the team’s goal?

      • broadstreetbeatdown - Aug 6, 2014 at 6:25 PM

        Neither was the defense of every other team in the league not named LA.

      • phtjoey - Aug 7, 2014 at 7:54 AM

        Other teams didn’t lose because of a porous defense.

      • broadstreetbeatdown - Aug 7, 2014 at 3:00 PM

        In order to win a hockey game. You must put a hard piece of rubber, commonly referred to as a puck, into the net of your opponent. In order to do this, you must get passed the opposing team’s goaltender, defensemen and any back checking forwards.

      • phtjoey - Aug 7, 2014 at 4:30 PM

        As a partisan you need to expect more than your team. The the objective of every team is the win the SC. Making the playoffs is just one step, and if the Flyers want to win the ultimate prize then they need to get better on d.

      • broadstreetbeatdown - Aug 7, 2014 at 5:46 PM

        So does every other team not called the LA Kings.

      • phtjoey - Aug 7, 2014 at 6:26 PM

        What’s with the constant “so does every other team not called the LA Kings”? I don’t think Chicago loss because they had a porous d. Keith, Duncan, Oduya, Hjalmarsson, Seabrook…. their problem is not on d.

      • broadstreetbeatdown - Aug 7, 2014 at 7:27 PM

        Im sorry, did they win?

      • phtjoey - Aug 7, 2014 at 9:30 PM

        Flyers were knocked out in the first round. Surprised you missed that…. but at least they made the playoffs.

      • broadstreetbeatdown - Aug 7, 2014 at 11:45 PM

        As were the Blue Jackets, Lightning, Redwings, Avalanche, Blues, Stars and Sharks. I’m still waiting for your point.

      • phtjoey - Aug 8, 2014 at 12:36 AM

        Point is no one should be satisfied with just making the playoffs. That’s not good enough. Sounds like you’re happy with your team making the playoffs because 14 teams didn’t. Lame expectations. You go ahead and drink the kool aid.

  9. bleedrangerblue - Aug 5, 2014 at 8:37 PM

    I love Del Zotto. Wanted him back with the Rangers. Enemy now , let’s see whatcha got!!!

    • billiam55 - Aug 6, 2014 at 1:13 AM

      lol u must be the only NYR fan that wanted that. u cray

      • nyrnashty - Aug 6, 2014 at 12:55 PM

        Nope, I wanted him back as well, he’s better than Marc Staal and also younger. Marc Staal was supposed to be a point producing D coming out of junior, that didn’t work then they tried to make him a shutdown D that was even worse, he’s a poor skater. MDZ can skate and make plays and his D will just get better over time the kid is still young.

      • moarjam - Aug 6, 2014 at 6:14 PM

        I can’t tell if you’re joking…

        Either way I’m laughing. MDZ >Marc Staal? Bahahaha

  10. dutchman1350 - Aug 5, 2014 at 8:44 PM

    Whatever “it” is that is holding back MDZ, I hope he gets rid of it. There are moments of beauty and his potential shines. Great pickup for the Flyers. However, if MDZ regresses could be a long year for Philly.

    • phillyphanatic77 - Aug 6, 2014 at 12:51 AM

      If he regresses I’d imagine the Flyers will call upon a steady vet like N Schultz or one of their young guns like Gostisbhere, Hagg, or even Alt (former 2nd, Phantoms top Dman last season at 21). Everyone is sleeping on the Flyers but I think Steve Mason proved he can be steady (even dominant) behind a mediocre blueline; and their forwards have the firepower to finish top 5 to 7 in the entire NHL.

      At times (in fact, a lot of times) Kimmo Timonen was more of a detriment than a positive influence. His shot from the point is like a knuckleball, he has no recovery speed, and when opposing forwards aren’t skating around him they’re skating right through him.

      • moarjam - Aug 6, 2014 at 9:46 AM

        If you’re ripping Timonen for his shot and foot speed well than you are NOT going to be a fan of MDZ. Just warning you.

        I’m rooting for him. He seemed like a good guy in NY. He can and has been a decent player in this league. His problems seem to stem from above the shoulders…

    • billiam55 - Aug 6, 2014 at 1:13 AM

      playing defense is what holds him back lol

  11. martysbetter - Aug 5, 2014 at 8:57 PM

    I think this deal will look very good by the end of the year – MDZ isn’t as terrible as he was last year, he might not be as good as he was in ’11-’12 but I don’t see why he can’t end up somewhere in the middle.

  12. ronniethec - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:09 PM

    Ed Van Imp gave up the puck to the Blues Red Berenson who scored his 6th goal of the game against the Flyers in the late 60’s. I remember the game. I don’t think Philly needs Van Imp. Maybe Moose DuPont ?

    • broadstreetbeatdown - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:32 PM

      I’ll go with Barry Ashbee. Was +52 and won the cup in 1974.

  13. mcphillthy - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:19 PM

    Low risk/high reward signing. Del zotto has a ton of upside. As was said earlier MDZ had to play his way onto teams with an already solid defense…. He won’t have that in Philly. We need help badly on the blueline and MDZ really has the opportunity of a lifetime here. This season could turn his career around or worst case scenario is the flyers spent 1.3m for a reclamation project.
    I love this signing by the flyers.
    Hexy is already making good decisions

  14. flyboystransport - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:19 PM

    Positives are he’s mobile and has good outlet passes. Negative. ..the knock on the flyers d last season was they got beat too much so bringing a guy in that’s bad position wise I’m not sure makes sense. Makes training camp interesting. ….

    • phillyphanatic77 - Aug 6, 2014 at 1:00 AM

      Actually a MAJOR knock on the Flyers dcorps over the past few seasons has been their tendency to get incessantly pinned inside their defensive zone. Adding someone with MDZ’s mobility and ability to make a quick outlet pass could be a huge addition. It’s a major reason why they overpaid to keep Andrew MacDonald. With MacD, Streit, Coburn, MDZ, and potentially Gostisbehere (later in the season), the Flyers should be far, far better moving the puck. And it’s one reason why I’m not all that concerned about not having #44 moving like molasses up and down the ice.

      • moarjam - Aug 6, 2014 at 9:59 AM

        Guys this mobility your talking about is false. I’m really not trying to rip the guy because I like him.. but I watched him for 4 years. He’s often the slowest player on the ice.

  15. icelovinbrotha215 - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:59 PM

    I’m digging this move. One hopes that what happened with Steve Mason is what will happen with MDZ.

  16. phillyphanatic77 - Aug 6, 2014 at 12:41 AM

    This is a move I’ve been advocating for the Flyers all off-season, long before the terrible news on Timonen. In all honestly I’m not overly disappointed about losing Kimmo for an extended period of time (quite possibly the entire season) because I thought he should have retired anyway. At this point he’s nothing more than a coach on the ice with greatly diminished skills. Continually putting him out for their for 19-25 minutes a game, over the course of 60-70 games, just isn’t in the Flyers best interests.(Plus they won’t have to roll over bonus money, a la Boston and Iginla this summer)

    Enter Del Zotto, who, granted, has been close to abysmal a lot over the past few campaigns but I still believe he can aptly fill in for some of those big minutes left behind by Timonen. At this stage Timonen is a pylon with poor strength, a greatly diminished shot, and surprisingly makes a lot of boneheaded mistakes for someone of his hockey IQ and experience. So even if MDZ isn’t the 40-point guy he was a few seasons ago, he is still just 24 years of age with a boatload of upside. Considering the fact that I actually wanted the Flyers great to retire I don’t think the blueline got much worse, and may, in fact, have improved in several areas.

    I wish all the best to Timonen in his recovery, but I’m excited to see whether or not MDZ can recapture some of his offensive magic playing with far more gifted players than he had in Nashville.

  17. ronniethec - Aug 6, 2014 at 12:56 AM

    Barry Ashbee is a good choice. Very solid defenseman.

  18. billiam55 - Aug 6, 2014 at 1:14 AM

    the del zaster comes to broad street

  19. djshnooks - Aug 6, 2014 at 7:53 AM

    If you can’t make it in Nashville, how in the world are you gonna make it in Philly?

    He’ll be torn apart in Philadelphia.

    • 7mantel - Aug 6, 2014 at 8:30 AM

      If your afraid of failure you’ll never succeed !

  20. jhnyr45 - Aug 6, 2014 at 8:57 AM

    He should stop partying with Tyler Seguin and focus on his offseason training…. he is gonna need it cause he played awful last season

  21. Idaslapter - Aug 6, 2014 at 9:17 AM

    Flyers wanted a Predators defenseman, well here you go.

  22. kastout11 - Aug 6, 2014 at 9:28 AM

    Hextall is a man of his word. He could have just rushed one of the young guys to Philly during training camp, but instead made a little risk, huge reward FA signing. Del Zotto will not bring Philly the cup, but he is a skilled defenseman who, at 24, should improve. If not, Ghost, Morin or Hagg should be ready for Philly by the end of the season if Kimmo doesn’t return, which it appears he is done for the season and probably his career. He will certianly go down as one of my favorite Flyers of all time. I just hope he recovers from the blood clots, then walks into the sunset. Maybe, he will get a job with the organiztion. He would be a hell of a mentor to the young defensemen in the organization.

  23. nyrnashty - Aug 6, 2014 at 10:05 AM

    I think it’s a great signing for Philly. MDZ is only 24 years old, I think he will be able to QB the pp and help great players like Giroux and Voracek score. He’s great at giving outlet passes on the tape to forwards in full transition, he has good vision, he will find you if you get open. He’s not the best D in the league, but most players at his age aren’t. I remember when Brian Leetch used to get criticized early on in the league for his not so good defense and he really didn’t become an all around defenseman until 27 or so, when most players do. I won’t be surprised if he gets an extension at some point during the season.

  24. justanotherphillyfan - Aug 6, 2014 at 12:38 PM

    It’s a cheap contract so it can’t go wrong. If he isn’t good enough you can drop him in the AHL > and some other team will claim him for you. Problem solved.

    Other side… He’s more of an offense D and he has set some nice numbers with the Rangers when he’s still a young(er) player. Of course in Nashville he was on the 3rd line not next to Weber so you can’t compare those numbers if you only play 10min. a game and 80% in your own zone.

    At Philly he will get top 4 minutes and he can show what he can do. Defensive guys we have enough.

  25. crazemastercraze - Aug 6, 2014 at 12:43 PM

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAH

  26. ndrick731 - Aug 6, 2014 at 3:35 PM

    Flyers need to trade Manning since they are NEVER going to give him an opportunity to play in the NHL. He is better than most of the excuses they have on their roster now. This continuing signing of retreads shows that nothing has changed with Flyers mentality under Hextall. 4 years from now none of these future of the franchise d-men will still be with the team.

    • ju8686 - Aug 6, 2014 at 4:46 PM

      You’re joking right?

      231 PIM and a -23 earns a chance in the NHL?

  27. bleedrangerblue - Aug 6, 2014 at 5:15 PM

    And this was under the Tortz regime. I really wonder how he would of played under Alain.

    • 7mantel - Aug 6, 2014 at 6:55 PM

      He played sparingly under Alain , I personally thought Alain had his mind made up before the season started .

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