Updated: 1:58 p.m.
Andrew MacDonald, who made a significant impact on stabilizing the Flyers when acquired just before the NHL trade deadline last month, was re-signed on Tuesday morning.
The Flyers' defenseman agreed to a six-year, $30 million contract extension, according to league sources.
That’s a high price to pay, but the Flyers feel MacDonald would have gotten similar offers had he elected to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
“The thought crosses your mind that it’s a few months away,” MacDonald said. “Since coming, I tried to get a good feel how I fit in. I got used to everything, systems, organization and I was really happy with everything.
“Before I got traded here, I had identified this as a place that I would like to look into if I went to free agency. The Flyers are a team that will always compete and spend the money. They go for it every year. That is important to any player. You want to be competitive and try to win it all every year. That’s a huge part [of signing].”
The 27-year-old has not only played well but also enabled Luke Schenn to become a better defenseman on the ice by focusing on what he does best: blocking shots and hitting people in front of the net. MacDonald covers a lot of room as a puck-moving defenseman on the ice.
He also finished the regular season with a league-high 242 blocked shots.
In 19 games with the Flyers, MacDonald has four assists and averages 21:59 ice time -- roughly three minutes less than what he averaged with the Islanders.
The Flyers also signed defensive prospect Shayne Gostisbehere to an entry-level contract on Tuesday (see story).
“Because of Andrew’s age, we didn’t mind six years,” general manager Paul Holmgren said. “We talked a lot of different scenarios, even longer than six.”
Holmgren said they had been getting close and he wanted to get it done now before the playoffs.
“Get it done and get it off his plate,” he said. “Let him focus on playing in the playoffs.”
MacDonald said Philadelphia was a unique hockey market.
“It’s obviously a little bit different wherever you go,” he said. “You realize the passion of the fans and the atmosphere in the rink.
“It was always something I loved coming in as an opponent. That’s a big part of things. And obviously, the room dynamic is real important. The way things are run here, it’s top-notch.”
Prior to be being traded from the Islanders to the Flyers, MacDonald turned down a four-year contract worth in excess of $16 million.
His $5 million salary cap hit for next season is second only to Mark Streit, who will earn $5.25 million among defensemen.
Kimmo Timonen’s one-year extension at $6 million expires this season.
Timonen originally said that this would likely be his last season, but he seems to have backed off from that in recent months.
If Timonen chooses to return, the Flyers would probably offer a contract of lesser value than he currently earns given the money they are now committed to spending on the their blue line.