Flyers general manager Ron Hextall was trying to find a way to get defenseman Michael Del Zotto involved in the team plans for a good portion of the summer.

When Hextall learned that Kimmo Timonen, perhaps the team’s best defenseman, had blood clots in his lower right leg and both lungs he knew Timonen wouldn’t be able to start the season with the team.

Timonen’s misfortune helped give Del Zotto, a young defenseman who was hoping he wasn’t a flash in the pan, a second chance in the NHL. The Flyers signed him to a one-year, $1.3 million contract on Aug. 5.

“It was hard fitting him in,” Hextall said late last month. “All of a sudden, it happens to Kimmo and it becomes a no-brainer. I talked to him all along the way and did want to sign him. He’s a young player with a huge upside.”

Meanwhile, the Flyers are still trying to get a clear diagnosis on Timonen. The 39-year-old, four-time All-Star was told by doctors in his native Finland that he has a protein C deficiency. The Flyers hope to have a definitive answer later this week as Timonen continues to see doctors locally.