The Philadelphia Flyers have lost defenseman Michael Del Zotto for the rest of the season, the team announced Sunday.
Del Zotto has missed the team’s last four games with a wrist injury and is now projected to require surgery to repair ligament damage in his wrist. The recovery timeline is projected to be three-to-four months.
The 25-year-old defender spent the last few seasons bouncing between teams. He wasn’t living up to lofty expectations following a 20th overall selection by the New York Rangers in the 2008 draft. But he has started to show signs of being a solid top-four defenseman this season. Losing him will make it difficult for the Flyers to put together the kind of run they would need to make the postseason.
Projected to be a very offensive-minded defenseman, Del Zotto has looked comfortable in Philadelphia with less pressure to be that guy. He’s been able to play a well-rounded game and allow others to take the mantle of the puck-moving power play pilot type of d-man. In particular, rookie Shayne Gostisbehere has been able to take on that role quite handily.
So while his points are down, Del Zotto’s 3.23% CF%Rel ranks third among team defensemen, he’s logging the most minutes by a defender on the team and he’s started to play a significant role as a penalty killer.
The Flyers are in a position where they could make a push for the postseason, but the Del Zotto injury may be a tipping point, as they have only one week until the trade deadline and have four UFAs on expiring contracts, including Michael Raffl, Evgeny Medvedev and Sam Gagner.
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Featured photo by Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers.