Flyers Continue to Shuffle Defense
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images)
SUNRISE, Fla. — Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said recently that having eight defensemen is hardly a “perfect world.”
His players would probably agree with that considering some of the decisions the coach has made recently. The latest blueliner to be sat by Dave Hakstol is Michael Del Zotto.
Through seven games, the fewest any Flyer has played this season, Del Zotto has a goal and four points, but it’s not his offensive game that dictated his being a healthy scratch Tuesday against the Florida Panthers. Hakstol’s explanation for that one was blunt and short.
“I think there’s been stretches of excellent play and there’s been some areas of his game that he’s got to clean up,” the coach said.
Del Zotto missed the first 12 games of the season with a knee injury, which came on the heels of a wrist injury that claimed the last couple months of last season for him. He was being groomed to be a No. 1 defenseman that could play in all situations, but that hasn’t gone very well this year.
On numerous occasions the usually fleet afoot Del Zotto has seen an opponent whizz by him en route to the Flyers’ net. The gaps that he allows opponents have been a little too big.
That’s also a critique of the player who took his spot in the lineup against the Panthers: Andrew MacDonald.