The New York Islanders have traded defenseman Andrew MacDonald to the Philadelphia Flyers for a 2014 3rd-round pick, a 2015 2nd-round pick and AHL center Matt Mangene. Separately, winger Thomas Vanek is a healthy scratch for the Isles in Winnipeg as reports have several teams from both coasts pursuing a trade for the Austrian.
The trade with the Flyers reunites MacDonald with former Islanders captain Mark Streit, with whom MacDonald partnered in his rookie NHL season.
It also brings Mangene a little closer to home as an addition for AHL Bridgeport. He is a Long Island native and University of Maine product who signed as an undrafted free agent.
MacDonald, 27, grew up in the Islanders organization -- going from a sixth-round pick in 2006, to splitting time with ECHL Utah in 2007-08, to finally earning a regular NHL job in 2009-10 when injuries hit the Islanders blueline.
His progress didn't stop with regular NHL work, however: This season he was logging a career-high 25:25 of ice time per night -- highest on the team -- including first unit power play duty while Lubomir Visnovsky was out with a concussion.
However, with that progress came expectation, and the pending unrestricted free agent was reportedly looking for a new contract in excess of $4.5 million per season for four seasons or more. This after working at a bargain rate on a four-year deal that averaged only $550,000 per season.
There is no consensus view on the value for MacDonald, who leads the league in blocked shots. The more traditional view is that he is a gritty defense-first guy who was simply overused by the Islanders. However, the underlying stats view is that he is not only overused but overrated, and shot metrics for every teammate decline when they are lined up with him.
Still, he is in some ways a "coach's dream" -- a no-nonsense player who will lay it all out to defend the goal. The problem is, when he's on the ice he's forced into defending the goal a little too often.
It should be fun to see him on the blueline in Philadelphia.