Philadelphia Flyers improve defensive future with Tuesday signings

The Philadelphia Flyers made some moves Tuesday to improve their defensive future by giving contracts to Andrew MacDonald and prospect Shayne Gostisbehere.

The Flyers traded for MacDonald just before deadline day in NHL this season. In exchange for the former New York Islander, Philadelphia sent a 2015 second-round pick, 2014 third-round pick and AHL forward Matt Mangene.

At the time of the trade, MacDonald led the NHL in shots blocked, and it was thought that he would help add good depth to the Philadelphia blue-line with that ability.

Since the trade, he has played 19 games in orange, tallying four points, 21 hits and 44 blocked shots.

philadelphia flyers

Andrew MacDonald

In New York, he was his teams top defenseman, and logged nearly 26 minutes per contest. That number has come down a bit, now rounding off at just above 22 minutes a game.

There were reports that he declined an extension in New York for $16M over four years because he was looking for a $5M/year deal. Philadelphia GM Paul Holmgren felt this was a fair number.

MacDonald signed a six-year extension with the Flyers, worth $30M dollars over that time period.

The 27-year-old is just entering his prime, and a $5M cap hit each year in exchange for his services is a win-win for both parties involved.

He likely won’t turn out to be the Flyers top defenseman, but he would be a terrific member of the second defensive pairing in Philadelphia.

However, the Flyers were not done adding depth to their defensive core. They also inked Union College defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere to an entry-level contract just days after his team won the NCAA National Championship.

Gostisbehere was a name relatively unknown to the everyday Flyers fan after he was drafted in the third round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

Since then, he has made noise by becoming one of the NCAA’s top defensive prospects, and one of the stars on the newest NCAA Championship team.

In his college career, Gostisbehere posted 22 goals and 60 assists in 119 games.

The Frozen Four took place at the Wells Fargo Center, home of the Philadelphia Flyers, over this past week. Gostisbehere likely got a taste of what it would be like to play in that building in front of thousands of fans.

Gostisbehere turns 21 in a few days, and appears to be one of the top defensive prospects in the Flyers organization.

He will report to the Adirondack Phantoms this week, and play out the remainder of this season with them. However, his contract doesn’t go into affect until next season.

Holmgren should consider himself lucky for being able to lock up the coveted prospect. Gostisbehere had the option of returning to Union for his senior season, and then testing the free agent market in the NHL.

Many people think Gostisbehere has NHL-ready talent now, but he will likely start next season on the Phantoms, baring a stellar training camp performance.

With Kimmo Timonen likely retiring this offseason, Gostisbehere could be his replacement.

Both moves were strong front office moves by Holmgren, and Flyers fans should expect, and hope for, a youth movement at the blue-line next season.

HartnellDown Tracker: Scott finished the regular season with 260 HartnellDowns, and a total of $13,000 donated to the HartnellDown Foundation. Scott averaged 3.2 falls a game, with a season high of 13 HartnellDowns against the Dallas Stars on Saturday, December 7th.