While many Philadelphia Flyers fans are fed up with the season, there’s one man that might give them hope…at least for the future.
The 2021-2022 Flyers season is putting many fans into therapy for a myriad of reasons: the recent 9-2 blowout by fellow Metropolitan division Washington Capitals, dueling losing streaks, and the fact there is likely NO ONE healthy on the squad.
Listing those NOT on the injury list might be easier than those on it. Goalie Carter Hart (lower-body injury), right-winger Cam Atkinson (lower-body injury), and center Nate Thompson (lower-body injury) all put the team in a precarious position.
Adding more insult to these injuries is a 30-year-old defenseman, Ryan Ellis. Remember him? If the name is vague this season, you’re not alone. Ellis played in FOUR games this season before being shut down.
Who do the Flyers have now? The name might surprise you, but the defense might have an ace up their sleeve, and his name….is Yegor Zamula.
Z For Zamula
Well, what do most fans know about this 22-year-old? After going undrafted in 2018, the Philadelphia Flyers signed him after rookie camp in 2019. The 2019-2020 season was cut short for the then 19-year-old due to a back injury. After undergoing surgery, Zamula earned his first professional start in the 2020-2021 season. The defenseman notched six assists in 25 games played with the Phantoms before answering the call from the mothership.
Heading into the 2021-2022 season, Zamula doubled his games played and quadrupled his points for the Phantoms. The Russian star notched 29pts (4G, 25A) but it’s his skills that are making him a hot name to watch.
Zamula is a sight for sore eyes on the blue line. Granted, he needs to add about 20lbs to his 6’3″ frame. Yet he knows how to use his long reach to outmuscle his opponents in a battle for the biscuit.
There is ZERO doubt the kid has talent, and his stock for the Flyers is only going up. He can lead the rush and drive up the center lane but can stay with the change of direction.
Zamula is a physical guy: spending sixteen minutes in the box during the 2021-2022 season with Lehigh Valley. He’s a much-needed puzzle piece for the Flyers, but where does he fit?
The Defensive Jigsaw Puzzle
The pressing question of where to play Zamula in Flyers is a tough one and not one that this writer can answer at the moment.
A large (and arguably confusing) piece will be Ellis and his health. First, it was a hip injury, out week-to-week. Ellis never returned as the report updated to “lower body.”
Chuck Fletcher seems vague on details, and if surgery is required, the later they wait, the longer it delays his return. Ellis suffocated the opposition with Ivan Provorov, the defensive staple for the squad.
Zamula paired with Kevin Connauton. He’s posting up solid numbers in the two games played this season for the Flyers. Zamula is holding a puck possession of 59.4% in the duo of games in Philly. He hasn’t been sent back down to the Phantoms and played 22 minutes in the abysmal loss to the Capitals.
Zamula developed a lot over the last three seasons. He’ll provide stiff competition for a roster spot in 2021-2022. He has all the tools to be a successful defenseman in the NHL.
He’s figuring out how to move the puck and decrease in-zone turnovers. With Rasmus Ristolainen and Cam York riding the injury train, Zamula is primed to prove he is needed.
For Philadelphia, the young defender might just be the answer to fixing the puzzle next year.
(Photo by John McCreary/Icon Sportswire)