Sure, the Stanley Cup Playoffs start for the Philadelphia Flyers in two days and all, but there was some pretty interesting news out of Flyerland today that had nothing to do with the upcoming series with the New York Rangers.
The news actually involved contracts for defensemen that have generated a ton of chatter lately.
You read those numbers correctly. MacDonald just got paid and in a big, big way.
When the Flyers acquired the 27-year-old from the New York Islanders in exchange for two draft picks on March 4, Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren almost immediately made his intentions of resigning MacDonald, who was set to be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, known to the world.
So the extension should come as no surprise.
The numbers, though, are a bit high but those shouldn’t come a surprise, either.
The reality today in the NHL is that puck-moving defensemen like MacDonald are so coveted that they can get almost any dollar amount they command because teams are so desperate for their services. The fact is that MacDonald likely would have gotten a deal of equal or even higher value on the open market.
So while it may be an overpay by the Flyers, it very well could also be market value.
And let’s be honest, he’s a way more solid option on the third pairing than Andrej Meszaros, who the Flyers subsequently traded to the Boston Bruins a day after acquiring MacDonald, or Erik Gustafsson.
He’s helped somewhat stabilize the Flyers’ most glaring weakness.
Since joining the Flyers, MacDonald has four assists in 19 games while mostly playing on the third pairing with Luke Schenn.
In the end, they locked up the guy they always wanted.
And now on to the signing has you all giddy with excitement like little kids on Christmas morning.
The Flyers also announced today that they have signed Union College defenseman, and apple of Flyers fans’ eyes, Shayne Gostisbehere to an entry-level contract.
You may remember Gostisbehere, a Flyers’ third-round pick in the 2012 entry draft, from the recent Frozen Four - which was held at Wells Fargo Center - when he tore up both Boston College and Minnesota en route to leading his team to a national championship.
In that Frozen Four, he posted a goal, four assists and was plus-7 en route to being named the tournament’s most outstanding player.
In the title game against Minnesota, he scored goal, recorded two assists and was plus-7.
Plus-7 in a championship game against the nation's No. 1 team ain’t too bad.
The kid is an offensive machine from the blue line and, if all goes according to plan, should quarterback the Flyers’ power play in the very near future.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but that very near future won’t be this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs.
According to CSN’s Sarah Baicker, Gostisbehere would have had to been on the Flyers’ reserve list by the trade deadline and signed by the end of the regular season to be eligible for the playoffs.
Instead, the 20-year-old, who scored 22 goals and recorded 60 assists in three years at Union, will report to the Phantoms and play three games with them until their season ends this weekend. Afterward, he’ll join the Flyers but just as a member of the team’s playoff practice players, also known as “the black aces.”
And that's probably for the best.
The college game is a whole different world than the NHL pro game. Let him get his feet wet with a couple AHL games and then some NHL practices instead of just throwing him into the fire of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against a hated rival.
This way, he can start fresh at camp in the fall and try to earn his way on to the squad.
After that, who knows where the kid’s talent will take him?
But, for now, let’s just focus on getting a win at Madison Square Garden, shall we?