Flyers’ Del Zotto taking defense to heart

Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Michael Del Zotto leads the team in ice time this season.
Mike Dinovo/Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Michael Del Zotto has relished his new role of being placed in position to shut down the opposition.

“It’s something I’m trying to embrace. I love it,” the traditionally offensive-minded Del Zotto told the Courier Post. “Any time the coach shows that trust in you to play against the other teams’ top lines, I’m playing in all situations. I’m on the second power-play unit, the (penalty kill and) 4-on-4. You name it, I’m playing it.”

Del Zotto had a chance to do precisely that in his last two contests, which ironically came against his previous two employers. The 25-year-old Ontario native scored his first goal of the season in a 3-2 overtime triumph over the Nashville Predators on Friday afternoon and had an assist and logged 29 minutes, 20 seconds of ice time on Saturday in a 3-0 victory over the New York Rangers.

Del Zotto, who has four assists and a team-leading 23:44 of ice time this season, finished a plus-3 in his last two games after mustering a minus-12 rating in his previous 22. The 20th overall pick of the 2008 draft, Del Zotto has scored 38 goals and set up 125 others in 405 career contests with the Rangers, Predators and Flyers.