Michael Del Zotto's career has been a bit of a roller coaster. He made a pretty big splash at the NHL level in his rookie season with the New York Rangers, scoring nine goals. His production dropped in his second season, and then was right back up again with 10 goals in his third season.
From that peak, Del Zotto's career track went into a deep valley. He struggled again in New York, and the Rangers shipped him to Nashville for less than glamorous return. After 25 games, Nashville -- and apparently the rest of the NHL -- had seen enough.
In the summer of 2014, Del Zotto waited for NHL teams to call. For a while, it seemed like none would. Ultimately, Kimmo Timonen's diagnosis of blood clots forced the Philadelphia Flyers into urgent action. They were able to sign Del Zotto for just $1.3 million due to lack of other suitors.
Playing in Philadelphia agreed with Del Zotto. He found some of that scoring mojo, scoring 10 goals in only 64 games last season. Flyers fans quickly became accustomed to the sight of Del Zotto pushing down the left boards and sniping one past the goalie top shelf. It showed Del Zotto can still add offense, but his two-way game still was lacking.
With the Flyers still waiting for their defensive youth movement to arrive, the Flyers re-signed Del Zotto this summer to a two-year contract at a tidy raise. At the age of 25 this season, Del Zotto is creating new facets to his game. Namely, he's trying on the role of two-way, No. 1 defenseman.