Andrew MacDonald’s contract pays him in the top how many NHL players?

Andrew MacDonald’s contract pays him in the top how many NHL players?

With the ink still drying on the new deal signed on Tuesday, Andrew MacDonald is currently scheduled to be paid as one of the top 100 players in the NHL next season. Let that sink in for a moment.

You don’t have to be a hockey salary cap expert to figure out why MacDonald’s six-year, $30 million contract extension with the Philadelphia Flyers is a tad startling. Beginning next season, when the extension takes effect, the 27-year-old defenseman is set to become the third-highest paid player in orange and black annually behind Claude Giroux and Mark Streit according to CapGeek.com.

MacDonald seemingly has been a better addition for the Flyers than most were willing to give credit when general manager Paul Holmgren sent second- and third-round picks to the Islanders in a deadline trade. The guy is basically as advertised—he logs a lot of minutes, led the league in blocked shots and is pretty savvy with the puck in his own end.

But was that unspectacular skillset really worthy of a pact indicative of a building block of this franchise? If we were to go off the over-simplified equation money plus years equals value, the Flyers have essentially determined MacDonald is more important to their success going forward than Wayne Simmonds or Steve Mason for example.

Compared to the rest of the league, the contract only sounds worse. MacDonald’s deal currently sets him up in a tie for the 21st-most expensive blueliner in the entire NHL for 2014-15, 90th overall according to Spotrac. He also becomes one of only 13 D-men signed through the year 2020, when he’ll be 33. That’s a heck of a commitment for a guy who puts his body in harm’s way more than most and doesn’t do anything very special.

Over time, new contracts will come along that make MacDonald’s numbers look more reasonable. After all, the salary cap is expected to jump over the next few years, which will inflate future numbers. If this deal was any indication, it’s already started. There’s a good chance he won’t wind up as one of the top 100 players by the time the 14-15 season gets underway.

I’m not sure that makes the contract any less confounding, nor does the notion that if the Flyers didn’t, another franchise would’ve awarded MacDonald a similar contract as Greg Wyshynski op-ins over at Puck Daddy. Wyshynski points out just how flawed that kind of logic is.

In 19 games with the Flyers, the numbers show they’ve been a better team with MacDonald off the ice. It was the same case last season when MacDonald was with the Islanders, too. Broad Street Hockey attempted to pinpoint the problem in the neutral zone, but being a turnstile at the blue line doesn't seem like a correctable aspect of his game.

The money is what it is. It’s the Flyers and the cap’s rising. But six years is a lot of years for Andrew MacDonald. And that's now two Islanders defensemen that the Flyers are building their defense around.

The other former Islanders defenseman is Streit of course, who at least adds some scoring punch to the unit. His 44 points led Philly D-men and were tied for 14th among all NHL blueliners this season.

In MacDonald, we’re talking about a player that Islanders fans were thankful to be rid of—and they don’t have a whole lot else to be thankful for. At 6’0”, 185 pounds, he’s not particularly big. He did set a career high with 28 points in 13-14, but with four goals is not especially threatening offensively. He isn't even a shutdown player in his own end.

Now he’ll be part of Philadelphia’s core for years to come, priced like a mid-tier if not a upper-echelon defenseman. Flyers gonna Flyers, as they say.

Brian Carroll's goal in 92nd minute gives Union draw with Rapids

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Brian Carroll's goal in 92nd minute gives Union draw with Rapids

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. -- Brian Carroll tied it in 92nd minute and the Union escaped with a 1-1 draw with the Colorado Rapids in a showdown of the Western and Eastern conference leaders.

Carroll ran underneath Fabian Herbers' high-arching header and slotted the finish under goalkeeper Zac MacMath from close range.

The Union (5-3-5) responded only 5 minutes after the Rapids (8-2-4) opened the scoring on Sam Cronin's header in the 87th minute. Cronin made a deep run to connect with Marlon Hairston's cross from the right flank, redirecting it into the far corner of the goal.

Both Dillon Powers and Luis Solignac had shots crash off the crossbar for the Rapids after the 70th minute.

The Union extended their unbeaten streak to seven while the Rapids stayed unbeaten in their nine home games this season.

Chase Utley haunts Mets in Dodgers' rout at Citi Field

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Chase Utley haunts Mets in Dodgers' rout at Citi Field

NEW YORK -- Chase Utley hit a grand slam and a solo homer after Noah Syndergaard threw a 99 mph fastball behind his back, and the Los Angeles Dodgers went deep a season-high five times in routing the New York Mets 9-1 on Saturday night.

In a scene that seemed inevitable since October, Syndergaard was immediately ejected following the third-inning pitch -- almost certainly his shot at retaliation against Utley for the late takeout slide that broke the right leg of then-Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada in last year's playoffs.

Plate umpire Adam Hamari tossed Syndergaard, sending Mets manager Terry Collins into a rage, but no trouble ensued between the teams. A longtime New York nemesis, Utley raised one hand slightly in the direction of the Dodgers' bench to keep teammates calm -- and later answered by doing all sorts of damage with his bat.

Kenta Maeda (4-3) shook off an early line drive that appeared to hit him in the pitching hand and threw five shutout innings for the win. The right-hander yielded two hits, both in the first, and snapped his three-game losing streak.

Adrian Gonzalez homered and had four hits for the Dodgers, who spoiled the Mets' 30th anniversary celebration of their 1986 World Series championship. Corey Seager and Howie Kendrick also connected, all after Syndergaard was gone.

Pinch-hitter Juan Lagares homered in the eighth for New York, long after the outcome was decided.

The stoic Utley is playing at Citi Field this weekend for the first time since Tejada was injured. The Mets -- and their fans -- were incensed by the aggressive slide, which led to a change in baseball rules this season designed to protect infielders in what some call the Utley Rule.

But the Mets had not tried to retaliate until Saturday night.

With one out and nobody on in the third inning of a scoreless game, Syndergaard's first pitch to Utley sailed behind the second baseman's back by a considerable margin.

Hamari immediately ejected Syndergaard, prompting Collins to come storming out of the dugout. Collins also was ejected after screaming at Hamari and pointing in his face during an animated argument. The manager was finally escorted back toward the New York dugout by another umpire.

After waiting near the mound with teammates for some time, Syndergaard walked calmly to the Mets' dugout without showing any emotion as the crowd cheered him.

Logan Verrett (3-2) entered for the Mets and, with a vocal contingent in the sellout crowd of 42,227 urging him to hit Utley with a pitch, eventually threw a called third strike past him. But then Utley homered on Verrett's first pitch of the sixth to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead.

Booed all night, Utley added his sixth career slam off Hansel Robles in the seventh, giving Los Angeles a 6-0 cushion with his 38th career homer against the Mets.

In the series opener Friday night, Utley was greeted with loud jeers and derisive chants. He had four RBIs in a 6-5 loss, including a three-run double that tied the score with two outs in the ninth.

Where are you now?
Tejada was released by the Mets during spring training and signed by the St. Louis Cardinals, who designated him for assignment Saturday.

Trainer's room
Dodgers: RF Trayce Thompson exited in the fifth with lower back soreness. He was replaced by Yasiel Puig, who hit an RBI single off Verrett in the sixth.

Mets: INF Wilmer Flores (hamstring) went 1 for 2 with a sacrifice fly in his fifth rehab game for Double-A Binghamton. Before the game, Collins said it was reasonable to think Flores could come off the disabled list Sunday.

Up next
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw (7-1, 1.48 ERA) starts the series finale Sunday night against 43-year-old Bartolo Colon (4-3, 3.44). Kershaw, coming off a two-hit shutout against Cincinnati, is 7-0 with a 1.17 ERA in 10 starts against the Mets. He is 5-0 with a 0.64 ERA in May -- including a three-hit shutout of New York on May 12 at Dodger Stadium. The three-time Cy Young Award winner has struck out 55 and walked two this month.

Soul drop 1st road game of season to Gladiators

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Soul drop 1st road game of season to Gladiators

The Soul fell on the road to the Cleveland Gladiators, 63-49, at Quicken Loans Arena on Saturday night.

The loss was just the second of the season and the first away from the Wells Fargo Center for the Soul. Quarterback Dan Raudabaugh completed 25 of 44 passes for 342 yards and seven touchdownsi in a losing effort.

The Gladiators were led by receiver Quentin Sims, who finished with 10 receptions for 114 yards and three touchdowns, and signal caller Arvell Nelson who completed 22 of 36 passes for 307 yards and seven touchdowns.

Next week, the Soul travel to Jacksonville to take on the Sharks on Saturday, June 4. The game will be broadcast on CBS Sports and 97.5 The Fanatic.  Kick-off is set for 7 p.m.