Monday, August 3, 2015

MacDonald happy to be a Flyer, 'open' to signing here

Defenseman Andrew MacDonald, calling the last 24 hours a “whirlwind,” said he was happy to be dealt to the Flyers and “open” to re-signing with the club.

MacDonald happy to be a Flyer, 'open' to signing here

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Defenseman Andrew MacDonald, calling the last 24 hours a “whirlwind,” said he was happy to be dealt to the Flyers and “open” to re-signing with the club.

“They’re a really skilled team and a tough team to play against,” MacDonald said after the morning skate at the Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday. “They play physical, and they’re good in all facets of the game, so it’s exciting to be able to join this team.”

MacDonald, 27, was acquired Tuesday in a deal that sent the Islanders minor-league forward Matt Mangene, a third-round pick in this year’s draft and a second-rounder in 2015.

In Wednesday night’s game against visiting Washington, MacDonald will be paired with Luke Schenn, while Andrej Meszaros (assuming he is not traded) will be a healthy scratch. MacDonald is also expected to see time on the second power-play unit alongside Mark Streit, his one-time defensive partner with the Islanders.

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MacDonald expected a smooth transition playing next to Schenn.

“It shouldn’t be too big of an adjustment,” he said. “Lots of communication is a good way to get over that.”

Coach Craig Berube likes to pair a puck-mover with a physical defenseman, which is why he initially doesn’t want to reunite MacDonald with Streit during five-on-five shifts.

The other pairs Wednesday will have Kimmo Timonen with Braydon Coburn, and Nick Grossmann with Streit.

Timonen said MacDonald was a welcome addition. MacDonald leads the NHL with 198 blocked shots, while Grossman is fourth with 146 blocks.

“That tells you these guys play for the team,” Timonen said.

MacDonald, 27, who flew from Winnipeg to Philadelphia late Tuesday night, worked on the power-play unit during the morning skate.

“You just try to review it and get familiar with it as good as you can, and try to gain some chemistry early,” he said.

MacDonald averaged 25:25 per game with the lowly Islanders, but he won’t get nearly as much ice time while on the third defensive pairing with the Flyers.

“In New York, we were thin there for a while. We had some injuries and some guys had to play some bigger minutes _ and I was one of those guys,” he said. “It’s great to get that experience and play those kind of minutes and stand up for your team, but I understand that’s not going to be the situation much here. I’ll just do whatever they ask me to do.”

MacDonald can become an unrestricted free agent this summer, but he hinted he may get a deal done with the Flyers before then.

“I mean, it’s such a great team and organization, you have to be open to a team like this,” he said. “As of right now, I’m not thinking about it at all. It’s been kind of a whirlwind. I’m just focusing on tonight’s game and we’ll go from there.”

MacDonald called Philadelphia “a great city. I always loved playing in this rink; it’s a great atmosphere. Obviously, with New York, we were on the losing end of it more times than not…But I’m really happy to be on this side of the puck now.”

MacDonald said he heard the rumors and expected to be traded.

“I was kind of anticipating it, but once you get the call, it’s still kind of a shock,” he said. “I’m just happy it was a team like Philly.”

Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.

Inquirer Staff Writer
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