It was sad news when we heard that Kimmo Timonen was diagnosed with clots in his right leg and both lungs. Thinking long term, Ron Hextall wasted no time and signed free agent defenseman Michael Del Zotto to a one-year contract. We all hope that Timonen has a speedy recover, but there is not set date on his return.
Replacing Timonen’s presence is tough. Not only is Timonen the best defensemen for the Flyers, he is also a vocal leader within the locker room and the Flyers maestro on the power play. If Timonen misses a lot of time, Mark Streit’s role could increase significantly as he was showing some flashes and rhythm towards the end of the season. Like Timonen, Streit is an offensive minded defensemen that provides extra scoring depth to the team.
Last season we saw Streit take on Timonen’s role when Timonen was out of the line up due to minor injuries for only a couple of games. Streit did very well with controlling the power play and with providing scoring chances. Although Streit only recorded 4 power play points, he can certainly improve those numbers if used in Timonen’s place.
Streit finished his first season with the Philadelphia Flyers tallying a total of 10 goals and 34 assists. Disregarding the playoff series with the N.Y Rangers in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Streit was on fire at the end of the season where in the last 6 games he registered 10 points.
Certainly, Mark Streit is a good candidate to take on Timonen’s role if Timonen is sidelined for quite some time. With a full season under his belt, Streit should feel more comfortable in the Flyers system. Streit was a big signing in the 2013 free agency for the Flyers getting a 4-year contract worth 21 million. This year we should see why.