Kimmo Timonen is expected to be released from a hospital in Finland sometime on Wednesday after being treated for multiple blood clots in both lungs and his lower right leg.
Flyers general manager Ron Hextall made the stunning announcement Tuesday after learning himself of the situation on Monday.
Hextall said the club will proceed as if this a “long term” situation, and try to sign a player via free agency or a trade. Timonen is out indefinitely.
They are more than $3 million over the NHL salary cap of $69 million for the coming season.
“We believe it could be a long-term situation and will continue to evaluate what is out there,” Hextall said during a conference call. “If we feel we need to make a move we will and I would suspect there’s a good chance we will.”
During their discussions with Nashville earlier this summer involving moving center Vinny Lecavalier, it is believed the Flyers inquired about a deal to secure the rights to 24-year-old unrestricted free agent defenseman Michael Del Zotto.
Del Zotto is still available.
There are numerous aging defenseman, such as Douglas Murray (34), Henrik Tallinder (35) and Derek Morris (35), just to name a few.
Hextall said he had not spoken to Timonen.
“Kimmo was with his buddy and had pain in his calf for three days and thought he had a pulled a calf muscle,” Hextall said, adding that the friend convinced him to get checked out in a hospital. “They did some type of evaluation and found the blood clots …”
This is not the first time that Timonen has been felled by blood clots.
He missed the start of the 2008 Eastern Conference finals against Pittsburgh because of clots in his left foot. He missed four games and returned in play in the Game 5 finale.
That injury was the result of being struck on the foot by a shot from Montreal’s Andrei Markov in the previous playoff series.
Hextall said Timonen did not have any minor surgery that could have produced these latest clots.
“I have not talked to him yet, and have reached out twice,” Hextall said. “He sent me a text. He seemed very frustrated, but we’re all happy for Kimmo and his three children that he is fine.”
Timonen, who turns 40 in March, re-signed this summer to a one-year contract at a reasonable salary of $2 million with incentives that could double that amount.
While he is no longer a true No.1, he is certainly a 1-A on the Flyers, given their overall defensive corps, which could use an infusion of speed and youth.
“There’s no question, it’s a setback; there’s no other way to explain it,” Hextall said. “We’ll do what we can to make the team better. We’ve been looking at a few things for the last few weeks and this will probably expedite something.
“You can’t take, not only the player, but the experience, the calm and the poise and the respect Kimmo has in the locker room and not say you didn’t take a step back.”
While this entire scenario would see to present a golden opportunity for budding defensive prospects Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg or Samuel Morin, in training camp, it doesn’t, Hextall emphasized.
“I’ve said this a few times, I don’t want to put a kid into a situation who is not ready for it,” Hextall said. “The way to protect yourself is to add a veteran if possible.”
The Flyers remain uncertain what the long-term medical consequences could be for Timonen if he does or does not play this season.
“He’s in stable condition and doing well, and the word is he should be discharged tomorrow,” Hextall said. “We’re more worried about Kimmo the person and not the hockey player.”
Timonen can’t travel for 2-3 weeks. When he is permitted to do so, he will return to the Flyers to be re-evaluated.
Last season, he averaged 20:20 ice time -- exactly two minutes less than his career average.