Fantasy Impact: The Philadelphia Flyers have signed defenseman Michael Del Zotto to a one-year contract worth $1.3 million.
The Flyers get: a defenseman with very high upside in terms of both offense and hitting. However, MDZ has fallen dramatically in terms of play and whenever we see these unexplainable production and talent drops, they rarely recover. Think Jonathans Blum and Cheechoo, Dany Heatley, etc.
Fantasy Players Impacted: This is on the heels of the team losing veteran leader Kimmo Timonen for an indeterminate length of time. Blood clot issues are unpredictable and given Timonen's age (39), that could be it for his career. Timonen had 35 points last season and was pegged for 37 in my Fantasy Guide (to be updated with this stuff later in the week).
Mark Streit, the other offensive leader on the team, saw more protected minutes than Timonen. While Braydon Coburn and Timonen saw the toughest competition and Andrew MacDonald and Nicklas Grossman faced the secondary competition - Streit saw the third tier. But Del Zotto would give new meaning to the word "sheltered". He can put up points, but he could see close to 60% offensive zone starts and the weakest competition of all - which puts the onus on Streit to take on tougher minutes. And if Del Zotto can't get his act together quickly, that contract is small enough to see to it that he gets paid while playing for the Phantoms. The first 20 games will be key and at this point I do not rate Del Zotto any higher than a "bench" draft pick.
All this being said, the Flyers are probably one of the better fits for him. There is a huge need for his skill set and lots of ice time available.
Fantasy Players this helps, in order:
1. Del Zotto
Fantasy Players this hurts, in order: