Philadelphia’s defense is setting up to look a lot different next season as youngsters like Samuel Morin and Travis Sanheim, among others, make a push for a full-time roster spot. Accordingly, their pending unrestricted free agents, Michael Del Zotto, aren’t likely to return next season.
Del Zotto confirmed to Marc Narducci of the Philadelphia Inquirer that there haven’t been any talks about a potential contract extension. The blueliner acknowledged he has been frustrated this season after seeing his role change considerably; his average ice time is down nearly four minutes a night from last year while he has also spent time as a healthy scratch.
As for Schultz, he acknowledged to CSN Philly’s Tim Panaccio that there’s a good chance he won’t play next season. He doesn’t like the idea of moving his family to sign a one year deal while it’s unlikely that the Flyers will look to bring him back, even in the current depth role he finds himself in.
Combined, the duo accounted for a little over $6MM on Philadelphia’s salary cap this season and if they are replaced with players on entry level deals, GM Ron Hextall should have some flexibility heading into the offseason.
More from Philly:
- In a separate column, Panaccio reports that Hextall has no plans of dealing any of his core players away this summer. He highlights forwards Claude Giroux, Wayne Simmonds, Jakub Voracek, and Brayden Schenn in that group. Each of those players is signed for at least two more years beyond this one with Voracek being under contract the longest through 2023-24. As things stand, the Flyers have nearly $60MM committed for next season to 16 players which should give them enough room to add another core piece without necessarily having to take one away to free up payroll space to do so in more of a shake-up type of deal.
- On top of not negotiating with their pending UFA blueliners, no contract talks have been held with goaltender Steve Mason, notes Sam Carchidi, also of the Philadelphia Inquirer. As a result, he reports that it’s unlikely the Flyers will try to bring the pending UFA back next season. The team re-signed Michal Neuvirth to a two year extension back at the trade deadline and could opt to bring in another goalie via free agency or give intriguing prospect Anthony Stolarz a shot at full-time NHL duty. It has been a tough year from Mason, whose .908 SV% is his lowest since 2011-12 back when he was with Columbus.