A little more than 24 hours prior to the NHL’s trade deadline, the Flyers have already shored up their defense.
The Flyers acquired defenseman Andrew MacDonald from the New York Islanders on Tuesday afternoon in exchange for a 2014 third round pick, 2015 second round pick and AHL defenseman Matt Mangene. The deal was first reported by Newsday’s Arthur Staple.
MacDonald, 27, was one of the most sought after rental defensemen on the market. He leads the NHL in blocked shots (198), plays an average of nearly 26 minutes per game and has contributed a valuable 24 points from the blue line.
He also has a very manageable salary cap hit of just $550,000. However, this is the final year of his four-year contract. Since the Flyers gave up two high draft picks for his services, they will be expected to re-sign MacDonald at some point prior to him becoming an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He will be due a big raise, though.
According to Newsday, MacDonald turned down a 4-year, $16 million deal earlier this season.
Does Andrew MacDonald improve the Flyers defense?
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MacDonald is a veteran of 295 NHL games, all with the Islanders. He played with current Flyers defenseman Mark Streit from 2008 through 2013.
The Islanders' No. 2 defenseman is expected to be asked to play a much lesser role with the Flyers, which may make him more successful. MacDonald is viewed around the NHL as a solid third pairing player on an upper-echelon team.
In addition to providing support for the Flyers, MacDonald also makes other defensemen - like Andrej Meszaros or Erik Gustafsson - expendable at the trade deadline. Boston is one of many teams to have shown interest in Meszaros. The current asking price on Tuesday, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger, was a second round pick for Meszaros.
The Islanders are in Winnipeg on Tuesday, but MacDonald is expected to be available to Flyers coach Craig Berube for Wednesday night's nationally televised game against Washington.
For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers