Between injuries and turnover-related benchings, defenseman Michael Del Zotto has had a disappointing third season with the Flyers.
But the 26-year-old Del Zotto - an eight-year veteran who knows his name has been mentioned in trade talks as the 3 p.m. Wednesday deadline approaches - says the adversity will make him stronger.
The Ontario native, an unrestricted free agent July 1, hopes to re-sign with the Flyers and mentor the young defensemen who are expected to be with the team next season.
Del Zotto said he wasn't bothered by the deadline and rumblings that he could be headed to his fourth team.
"The only thing I can control is my work ethic," he said before returning to the lineup Tuesday against Colorado after a two-game benching. "And at the end of every day, whether it was a practice or a game, I can look at myself in the mirror and know I gave everything I had. That's one thing I take pride in. I wear my heart on my sleeve."
This is the first time in Del Zotto's career that he was a pending unrestricted free agent at the trade deadline.
"I know how it works," he said of teams' renting players for the stretch run. "This is my eighth season and I've seen it happen. I've had some of my teammates and closest friends traded in the past. I've been traded. You understand the business."
Del Zotto, who is in the final year of a two-year extension that paid him a total of $7.75 million, said this is the "closest group I've ever played with. I love the group of guys here. The fans are very passionate. At the end of the day, it's a business and I don't know what's going to happen. You see which way the team is trending. We have a lot of defensive prospects coming up, and I'd love to be a veteran and help them along the way. With all the adversity in my career and what I've overcome, [I think I can help]. But we'll see what happens."
Entering Tuesday, Del Zotto had four goals, 10 points, and a minus-13 rating in 32 games this season.
At last year's trade deadline, the Flyers were three points out of a playoff spot and didn't make any deals. . . . Claude Giroux began the night needing four goals to pass Jeff Carter for 15th place on the franchise's all-time list. . . . Including Tuesday's game, the Flyers will play their final 21 games over a 41-day span.