Egor Zamula Signs ‘Prove-It’ Deal With Flyers
The Flyers aren’t sure what they have in left-shot defenseman Egor Zamula. That has little to do with Zamula himself. Rather, it’s impossible to know based on the 26 NHL games he’s played.
But there’s a positive side to uncertainty. A hopeful side. Zamula certainly showed flashes of promise. He flashed enough to earn himself a contract.
A 1-year deal worth $775K is essentially the essence of a “let’s see what you got” contract. It’s an opportunity to play for a better one.
Morgan Frost got one of those last year and figures to have earned more solid footing on the next deal (which he’ll sign this summer).
Zamula has the talent to forge a similar path. He’s a rangy defender whose stick can be so disruptive as to be oppressive when he’s using it properly. His puck-moving exploits are hit and miss, but at times, sublime. He has a unique poise about the way he plays, and it compliments his well above-average vision of the ice.
That’s a useful defenseman. It does beg the question: where is he going to play?
On one level, I mean: in which league will he play? After a shoulder injury, a detour to the AHL has proven commonplace in Flyers land. Both Morgan Frost and Tyson Foerster went for AHL stints after their respective shoulder surgeries.
It wouldn’t be a shock to see Zamula continue that trend.
But Foerster was two years younger than Zamula is now, coming out of juniors and having yet to make his NHL debut. Frost, who made his NHL debut, looked like a prospect who still needed time to figure out his translation to the pro game.
Zamula looks like he’s ready to be an NHLer right now, albeit while taking some lumps along the way. As young pros do.
So the next question is: what position does he play?
The Flyers have a glut of left-shot defensemen at this point: Provorov, Sanheim, York, Seeler, and Zamula are all lefty shots. Zamula has shown less open disdain for playing his off-side than Cam York, but he’s doubtful to actually be more comfortable with it than York is.
Retrieving pucks under the heavy pressure of even the most conservative NHL forechecks is arduous and uniquely difficult work.
“Puck-moving defensemen” is in vogue because that’s tremendously difficult to do: retrieve pucks under pressure and make a controlled play to a teammate rather than absorbing a hit and banging it off the glass.
To have to do it while approaching every puck on your backhand? That makes an already difficult task harder… even more so. Either way, Zamula will have the chance to play himself into a better deal this time next summer.
The question that arises is: Will the Flyers make that as easy as possible with some of their upcoming moves? Or will he be climbing an uphill battle?
Mandatory Credit: Len Redkoles / NHL via Getty Images