Report: Flyers talking new deal with Schultz, ‘expected’ to qualify Del Zotto

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Though its defensive unit has been much maligned this season, Philadelphia is reportedly in the mix to retain d-men Nick Schultz and Michael Del Zotto, per the Daily News.

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Preliminary contract talks are underway between the Flyers and pending free agent defenseman Nick Schultz, according to sources. A deal does not appear to be imminent yet. Both the Flyers and Schultz have expressed interest in an extension for the 32-year-old veteran.

The Flyers have not held any initial contract negotiations with pending free agent defenseman Michael Del Zotto. He is a restricted free agent – meaning the Flyers will retain his rights as long as they issue a qualifying offer to him this summer at the same $1.3 million he is earning this season.

Del Zotto’s camp told the Daily News yesterday they would expect a qualifying offer to come from the Flyers.

A new deal for Schultz makes sense as he’s been pretty productive on the cheap (a one-year, $1.25 million deal.) Originally signed mostly for depth purposes, Schultz has been a workhorse throughout the year, averaging 19:02 TOI in 49 games played — the only other Flyers d-man to appear in more games is Mark Streit.

As for Del Zotto, he had a rough go of things earlier this season but enjoyed a very solid January, scoring three goals and nine points in 14 games. He’s expressed an interest in staying in Philly and, like Schultz, is producing this year on the cheap — Del Zotto’s on a $1.3 million contract, which has led some to believe he could be dangled at the trade deadline should Philly waive a white flag at the playoffs and try to stockpile some assets.