Paul Holmgren made his move a little less than 24 hours before the final buzzer rang on the NHL trade deadline. There was nothing impulsive about it. It wasn’t a rushed decision, made as the pressure mounted from seeing little sand left in the hourglass. Andrew MacDonald was the Flyers’ primary target. “We believe he’s gonna make our team better,” the Flyers’ general manager said of his new defenseman. “With an eye on the future, we have an interest in keeping Andrew longer term.” That, however, will cost him far more than the two draft picks it took to put him in a Flyers uniform for at least 20 games. Both sides hope it will be longer. MacDonald, 27, is in line for his first big payday in the NHL. When he signed a four-year, $2.2 million deal with the New York Islanders, he wasn’t an established player in the league. Over the past two seasons he’s made a name for himself, mainly by becoming the NHL’s leader in blocked shots. His $550,000 cap hit is the lowest on the Flyers’ roster. Next year, it could be among the highest if he is re-signed. Both sides seem willing to make that happen. “It’s such a great team and organization, I think you have to be open to this,” MacDonald said. “As of right now, I’m not thinking about it at all. It’s been kind of a whirlwind.” Things got off on the right foot when MacDonald was traded and he got a call from Flyers captain Claude Giroux. That impressed MacDonald, who already had Philly as a top three destination on his list as he approached unrestricted free agency for the first time in his career. “It’s a home run on our side of the coin,” said Peter Cooney, MacDonald’s agent. “The beauty of Philadelphia is every year they’re competitive in the playoffs and for the Stanley Cup.” That’s something MacDonald isn’t used to after playing 295 games across six seasons for the Islanders. He had 17 goals and 72 assists. This season, he was a minute eater for the Islanders in all situations. His 25:25 average ice time entering Wednesday’s action was eighth in the NHL and more than any other Flyer.
Flyers, MacDonald want to make extension work
Courier-Post | Mar 6