The Philadelphia Flyers have always been known for their toughness. Ever since the “Broad Street Bullies” of the 1970s, the Flyers have been synonymous with tough, gritty, physical hockey.
Despite lacking a lot of the puck skills that most NHL hockey players possess, Flyers forward Zac Rinaldo has found a place in the Flyers line. The 5’11”, 185 lbs. fourth-line forward is pound-for-pound one of the toughest players on the Flyers roster. Head coach Craig Berube has long been a fan of Rinaldo and his play as it became clear of his confidence in Rinaldo this past season when Rinaldo saw some time on the penalty kill in addition to his even-strength duties.
Berube’s influence certainly must’ve impact general manager Ron Hextall as the team announced on Tuesday they have signed Rinaldo to a two-year contract extension. Terms of the deal were not disclosed but Comcast Sportsnet Philadelphia reports the deal is worth $1.7 million which would raise his average annual value from $750,000 next season to $850,000 in 2015-16. Rinaldo was slated to become a restricted free agent next summer.
The 24-year-old scored just two goals and added two assists for four points in 67 games last season for the Flyers. He has just seven goals and 11 assists in 165 career NHL games so he will not be providing much offense for the Flyers.
However, Rinaldo does hit people and he does it often. He recorded 231 hits last season averaging 3.45 hits per game which was impressive considering he was only on the ice for an average of 7:42. The downside to Rinaldo’s tenacity is his penchant for taking penalties as he was whistled for 153 penalty minutes last season.