Tuesday, April 15, 2014

MacDonald to be a fixture on Flyers blueline

One thing you can count on with the Philadelphia Flyers, is that if a player shows even mild improvement in their game after being acquired, the front office will do everything in its power to lock him up for multiple years.

That practice held firm on Tuesday morning, as the club signed defenseman Andrew MacDonald to a multi-year contract extension. No terms of the pact were released by the team, but multiple reports cite it is for $30 million over six years.

Since his acquisition on March 5 from the New York Islanders, the 27-year-old native of Nova Scotia participated in 19 games and registered four assists with a minus-3 rating and 16 penalty minutes. The so-called "poor man's Matt Carle" will have a lot to live up to in many fans' eyes and hasn't come close as of yet.

MacDonald is only one of three current NHL defensemen with more than 200 blocks, having picked up 242 and had been a "minutes eater" since arriving, averaging more than 20 minutes of ice time with a high of 28:49 at Pittsburgh this past Saturday.

The signing means that the Flyers have placed their faith in a younger, sleeker version of Nicklas Grossmann, who has two years and $7 million left on his current contract, and may not look to get rid of the plodding Grossmann no matter what Kimmo Timonen decides to do next year.

There's $1.7 million dollars up in the air as well between UFA Hal Gill and RFA Erik Gustafsson along with Timonen's $6 million. We can guess which one of the first two will be shown the door, while the third may have to take a hometown discount to return despite the salary-cap expansion coming.

Whatever the financial situation, Philadelphia now employs two ex-Islander blueliners whose short-term benefits and long-term viability can be called into question despite Craig Berube's efforts to stabilize things.
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