An eventful trade deadline has passed in the NHL, and names like Vanek, St. Louis, Callahan and Luongo were moved. However, the Philadelphia Flyers were relatively quiet on Wednesday.
Before the busy final day of trades, the Flyers’ made a move on Tuesday, acquiring New York Islander defenseman Andrew MacDonald in exchange for the Flyers’ 2014 third round pick, 2015 second round pick and forward prospect Matt Mangene.
This put nine defensemen on the Flyers’ roster, so the immediate conclusion most fans made was that someone was getting moved. That someone would most likely come from the blue-line.
On Wednesday, the Flyers’ dealt Andrej Meszaros to the Boston Bruins for their third round pick this year, successfully regaining some picks they lost in the MacDonald deal.
With Philadelphia dumping the contract of Meszaros on Boston in exchange for a pick, and MacDonald on making 550k this season, this left the Flyers with around $6.4 million in cap space, according to capgeek.com.
This is a huge amount of room for a team to work with, and many thought a late deal would be made for a player like Ryan Kesler, who was reportedly bid on by the Flyers and many other teams, however the Canuck was not moved.
Yet no deals were announced, and the Flyers stayed put with what they had.
How good were the deals they made?
MacDonald was likely the best defenseman moved at the deadline, so it was a huge get for the Flyers. He wasn’t cheap though. The deal likely hinged on Philadelphia GM Paul Holmgren’s confidence to resign MacDonald to a long-term deal.
MacDonald is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason. He currently makes 550k/year, but his new deal is likely to be for several million. Holmgren likes MacDonald and hopes he will stick around for the long run.
Holmgren will likely look to resign MacDonald before he has a chance to become a free agent. MacDonald has expressed interest in resigning with Philadelphia, so odds are a deal gets made. Expect something in the range of what Meszaros was making over a three to four year period.
The exchange made with Boston seemed to be mostly a business one. Philadelphia rids themselves of a large contract and an extra blue-liner, and Boston receives a rental player to fill the shoes of injured defenseman Dennis Seidenberg as they attempt a deep playoff run.
As long as Philadelphia is able to resign MacDonald, consider this deadline a success.
What to expect from MacDonald:
MacDonald was beginning to struggle a bit in New York, but it is likely because he was overplayed.
His average ice time this season is 25:25 per game, higher than any Flyers’ defenseman. As he learns the new system and is relied on less, his play and confidence should rise.
He is also an elite shot blocker. He currently leads the NHL in blocked shots with 198, and no one else is even close to him. In fact, since 2010, he ranks second in the NHL when it comes to shots blocked. This ability should help Steve Mason continue to gain confidence when he has a player in front of him stopping as many shots as he does.
Although he is a fantastic get for the Flyers, it won’t matter if he doesn’t resign. He is also not the answer for the defensive problem in Philadelphia.
If all works out well, MacDonald resigns and gives the Flyers good depth on defense for the next few years, and Holmgren is able to acquire a star blue-liner in the near future.
HartnellDown Tracker: Scott currently sits at 215 HartnellDowns for the season.