PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 26: Tom Sestito #32 of the Philadelphia Flyers is escourted off the ice following a game misconduct penalty against the New York Rangers during an NHL preseason game at Wells Fargo Center on September 26, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Tough guy Tom Sestito, a restricted free agent as of 20 minutes ago, has signed a one-year contract with the Philadelphia Flyers. The deal was announced by his agent Scott Norton. Financial terms were not disclosed, but his qualifying offer was at least $660,000. It's almost definitely a two-way deal.
2011-12 was a rough season for Sestito. He basically ruined his shot at an NHL job last preseason when he hit Andre Deveaux of the New York Rangers from behind. He was suspended four games on the same day he cleared waivers, allowing the Flyers to send him down to the Adirondack Phantoms. The chain of events gave Zac Rinaldo the upper hand in a training camp roster battle, an upper hand he's held over Sestito ever since.
Sestito got his chance to return to the lineup in December thanks to other injuries, and after finishing his two-game suspension, he ultimately played 14 games for the Flyers, compiling an assist and 83 (!) penalty minutes. (That's just under six per game.) Then, he injured his groin in a fight with Zack Kassian of the Buffalo Sabres on February 16 and missed the remainder of the season.
As we wrote during last year's camp, the Flyers already have plenty of tough guys on the roster. Rinaldo and Sestito are different players but they essentially serve the same function on the team, and then there's Jody Shelley too. It seems odd that the Flyers would use one of their ever-dwindling 50 contract spots on a guy like this, but alas, he's back in the fold.