Defenseman Michael Del Zotto was supposed to be the next great blueliner to play for the New York Rangers after posting spectacular numbers as a teenaged rookie in the Big Apple in 2009-10, but lapses in defensive acumen coupled with his sometimes overzealous love of all New York has to offer made it an up-and-down tenure. The Philadelphia Flyers are hoping the move to Broad Street can get his once-promising career back on track.
During a trying 2013-14 season, the struggling Del Zotto was traded to the Nashville Predators, where it looked like he’d get his career back on track under head coach Barry Trotz. The move from the Big Apple to the Music City made thing worse as Del Zotto struggled mightily, and he was essentially released by the Predators at the end of the season.
In the five weeks since free agency opened, no team had shown serious interest in the 24-year-old until Philly gave him a one year, $1.3 million deal, worth roughly half of what he made last year.
Even the Flyers weren’t exactly knocking down the door for Del Zotto’s services on the free agent market. It essentially took a 40-year-old Kimmo Timonen having career-threatening blood clots for Ron Hextall to bring in Del Zotto. If Del Zotto can record 30-40 points next season, he will unquestionably the best acquisition in free agency this summer.
In a league where Brooks Orpik is getting paid over $5 million per season, $1.3 million for a player a decade younger is the definition of bargain. The Flyers can only hope that Del Zotto gets his career back on track to improve the team’s defensive corps. For a team that makes a living on bold moves, sometimes it’s the smaller, quieter move that makes all the difference.