Carolina Hurricanes Defense Search: Top Five Free Agent Defensemen

Oct 28, 2016; Raleigh, NC, USA; Carolina Hurricanes defensemen Jaccob Slavin (74) skates with the puck during the second period against the New York Rangers at PNC Arena. The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the New York Rangers 3-2. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 28, 2016; Raleigh, NC, USA; Carolina Hurricanes defensemen Jaccob Slavin (74) skates with the puck during the second period against the New York Rangers at PNC Arena. The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the New York Rangers 3-2. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mar 7, 2017; Buffalo, NY, USA; Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Michael Del Zotto (15) during the game against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 7, 2017; Buffalo, NY, USA; Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Michael Del Zotto (15) during the game against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports /

4. Michael Del Zotto

Michael Del Zotto is the youngest on the list at only 26 years old.  While Del Zotto may be in decline it wouldn’t be quite as sharp as a player in their early 30s.  Strangely enough, the Flyers didn’t trade Del Zotto at the trade deadline even though they did Mark Streit.  That may signal Philadelphia could be working on resigning the left-handed defensemen.

Del Zotto isn’t a huge penalty killer for the Flyers which will bring his value down, his shot differential stats are generally favorable.  This year for the Flyers, Del Zotto posted a 51.53 Corsi For percentage.  Some of his stats could be due to the emergence of Radko Gudas as an offensive threat on the blueline this year.  Del Zotto paired with Gudas for 338.72 minutes of his total 5v5 ice time.

A player like Del Zotto would go a long way to shoring up the Carolina Hurricanes third pairing.  Del Zotto most likely will be looking for term on his contract and a raise.  With all three of the Carolina Hurricanes young defenseman needing new contracts at the end of next year, this could make things complicated for Ron Francis.

If the playoffs are in the picture next year, the better strategy may be getting a rental at the deadline.  Still, Del Zotto would be a much better option on the third pair than anyone currently on the roster or in the Carolina Hurricanes prospect pipeline.