PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 29: Harry Zolnierczyk #29 of the Philadelphia Flyers holds his mouth following a hit against the New Jersey Devils at the Wells Fargo Center on September 29, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Flyers defeated the Devils 2-1. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The Flyers announced this afternoon that Harry Zolnierczyk has been sent back to the Adirondack Phantoms. He's been a strong player on the fourth line for the Flyers for most of the season thus far, but apparently he's lost his spot on the roster to Tom Sestito, who has played in Harry Z's place in a few games since the All-Star break.
Zolnierczyk was a healthy scratch last night against the Islanders, on Saturday against the Devils and last Tuesday against Winnipeg. It's evident that Zolnierczyk has been marginalized by the play of Sestito, and I'm not going to pretend to understand that considering they play completely different roles.
I don't absolutely hate the move from a sending-down-Harry-Z perspective, but the impact it has on Sean Couturier is what worries me. He's now all but forced to play with some combination of Sestito, Zac Rinaldo and Jody Shelley on that fourth line... and well, that sucks. Maybe the alternative is to put Max Talbot on the fourth line, but I'm not sure how I like that either.
Essentially, losing Harry Z forces the Flyers to lose some versatility in the lineup, and that's the part that's more bothersome than anything else.