New York Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto has parted ways with Swiss club Rapperswil-Jona, according to multiple sources.
The news is intriguing on two fronts: 1) Del Zotto is the second Ranger to leave Switzerland with an injury over the last few days — on Friday, Rick Nash left Davos and returned to New York with a groin injury.
2) Del Zotto doesn’t have an NHL contract.
The 22-year-old RFA wasn’t able to reach an extension with the Blueshirts prior to the start of the lockout, meaning he entered the work stoppage in the most precarious of positions.
It took Del Zotto nearly two months to find the right European deal — he inked with Rapperswil in early November — and the obvious concern was the possibility of getting hurt.
Thankfully for Del Zotto, the back issue isn’t believed to be serious. Larry Brooks of the New York Post classified the ailment as “mild stiffness” and it sounds as though the departure was precautionary more than anything else.
Derek Roy has finally found work — but it’s not in the NHL.
Roy, who spent the entire preseason in Washington’s camp on a PTO, has signed with SC Bern of Switzerland’s National League A, the club announced on Friday.
The news comes after Roy narrowly missed out on making the Caps roster, and just one year after he had something of a bounce-back campaign in Edmonton, scoring 22 points in 46 games while developing chemistry with young winger Nail Yakupov.
A 12-year NHL veteran, Roy is one of the more prominent names to be squeezed out of work this season, and head overseas. The 31-year-old has scored over 500 points in 738 career contests, and has twice represented Canada at the World Hockey Championships.
With Bern, Roy will play on one of Switzerland’s stronger teams, alongside a trio of ex-NHLers: Chuck Kobasew, Andrew Ebbett and Cory Conacher.
Robin Lehner might not be back anytime soon.
Making his debut with the Buffalo Sabres, the 24-year-old goaltender couldn’t complete Thursday’s game against his former squad, the Ottawa Senators, due to what has now been revealed to be a right leg injury.
When he left the arena, he was wearing a walking boot on that nearly went up to his knee.
“It doesn’t look like it’s short term,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma told the Buffalo News. “It’s more than day-to-day at this point, but we need to evaluate further.”
It’s a rocky start to what’s an important campaign for Lehner. He has been given an opportunity to demonstrate that he’s ready to be a starting goaltender after being acquired by the Sabres over the summer, but it looks like that will have to be postponed.
While he’s sidelined, Chad Johnson is likely to be leaned on heavily.