The Philadelphia Flyers apparently liked what they saw out of defenseman Andrew MacDonald after they acquired him from the New York Islanders. With unrestricted free agency looming, they cut him a 6-year, $30-million deal to remain on the Philly blue line.
MacDonald was acquired by the Flyers around this year's trade deadline on March 4 from the NY Islanders, and since joining the team, has four assists in 19 games and recorded over 20 minutes of ice-time in 14 of those games, including a Flyers-high of 28:49 at Pittsburgh on Apr. 12. The 6-1, 190-pound defenseman led all NHL players in blocked shots this season with 242 and was one of three players in the NHL with over 200 blocks.
So, he plays over 20 minutes and excels at doing something that will eventually lead to an injury that will have him playing zero minutes.
It’s the hockey world’s default setting to be critical of any contract handed out by the Flyers, but that’s because they make it so easy. MacDonald just went from making $550,000 to making $5 million next season. Think about your salary; think about that exponential increase. Now pick your jaw off the floor.
Granted, this is NHL economics, so the prevailing wisdom is that SOMEONE would have given him the money, but that’s next exactly a sterling defense of a deal that has an average defenseman locked up for six years with a $5 million annual cap hit.
In 19 games with the Flyers, the numbers show they’ve been a better team with MacDonald off the ice. It was the same case last season when MacDonald was with the Islanders, too. Broad Street Hockey attempted to pinpoint the problem in the neutral zone, but being a turnstile at the blue line doesn't seem like a correctable aspect of his game.
The money is what it is. It’s the Flyers and the cap’s rising. But six years is a lot of years for Andrew MacDonald. And that's now two Islanders defensemen that the Flyers are building their defense around.