Add Michael Del Zotto’s name to the injured list. The Flyers announced on Friday afternoon that the defenseman will miss four to five weeks with an undisclosed lower body injury. That’s just a crushing blow to the team’s defense.
Del Zotto missed the stretch run of the 2015-16 season, plus the playoffs, with a wrist injury, and now this lower-body injury is just another blow for him. He left the third period of Thursday night’s preseason game against the New York Rangers, but we’re still in the dark as to exactly what his ailment might be.
MDZ is one of the Flyers most steady defensemen, and with Brandon Manning also dealing with an injury, the roster decisions are considerably more complex for the team now. The Flyers could place Del Zotto’s $3.875 million salary on long-term injured reserve, but ... well, we could sit here and spend 4,000 words talking about all the different salary cap scenarios in the wake of this injury, the Manning injury and the Scott Laughton injury. Flyers assistant GM and capologist Barry Hanrahan has his work cut out for him right now.
On the flip side, this just about cements Ivan Provorov’s place on the roster for the start of the 2016-17 season. That’s the slimmest of silver linings, however, since Provorov was probably making the squad anyway. With just six healthy defensemen on the roster currently, Provorov might be given a heavy workload right away.
Provorov, Shayne Gostisbehere, Radko Gudas, Andrew MacDonald, Mark Streit and Nick Schultz remain the healthy defensemen in Flyers camp. At practice without Del Zotto this morning, Gudas was paired with Schultz, MacDonald was with Ghost and Provorov was with Streit. That could very well be what we see when the season kicks off in a week.