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Zac Rinaldo wants to expand his role

Zac Rinaldo

Zac Rinaldo #36 (L) of the Philadelphia Flyers scores at 8:41 of the first period against the New York Islanders and is joined by Sean Couturier #14 (R) at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on March 15, 2012 in Uniondale, New York. (March 14, 2012 - Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

The lockout is forcing Rinaldo back to the AHL after spending 66 games with the Philadelphia Flyers last season. Some would be frustrated by the setback, but Rinaldo is trying to look at it as an “opportunity to become a better hockey player,” based on a report.

Rinaldo had nine points and 232 penalty minutes with the Flyers in 2011-12 while averaging just 7:29 of ice time per game, but he’ll get the opportunity to show what he can do with top-six minutes in the AHL.

Rinaldo said he’s always been an energy guy, but he wants to “focus on being a good, complete hockey player.”

One area he thinks he can help the AHL Phantoms -- and then the Flyers after the lockout -- in is killing penalties.

“I did a lot of penalty killing in the OHL,” Rinaldo said. “Not as much in the AHL and not really at al last year. But, I think I’ll be a good penalty killer because of a lot of assets that I have in my game. I like penalty killing. I like it better than the power play. Terry Murray is a great [penalty killing] teacher right? So I think he’ll be able to help me out a lot there.”

Rinaldo isn’t looking to change his game, but he wants to add to it. For young players like him, the lockout is an opportunity to take a step back and grow. It looks like he’ll try to take advantage of that.