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"Expect Great Things": AMac


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Thought this was really a great read via Broad Street Hockey- expect great things (as Rad likes to say):

 

 

Andrew MacDonald

Age: 27 (September 7, 1986)
Contract Status: $5,000,000 per year through 2020

2013-14 Stats

 

GP TOI/GP Goals Assists Points 19 21:00 0 4 4

 

Corsi For % Corsi Rel % Quality of Comp. (TOI%) Zone Start % PDO 48.3% (5) -5.2% (8) 28.1% (5) 49.5% (6) 100.3% (5)

(Numbers in parentheses indicate descending rank among regular Flyers players at his position, i.e. one of the team's top eight defensemen or top 13 forwards.)

Most frequent defensive partners

 

Partner Goals For% Corsi For% OZ/DZ% Luke Schenn 45.5% (+5 / -6) 47.1% 52.6% Mark Streit 66.7% (+2 / -1) 59.7% 57.9% Braydon Coburn 33.3% (+1 / -2) 37.2% 33.3% A trade many dreaded

 

The 2013-2014 season was not a particular kind one for Flyers blueliners.

 

Kimmo Timonen was still probably the Flyers best defenseman, but was a year older. Braydon Coburn had a bounce back year; but beyond those two, things got murky. Nicklas Grossmann had perhaps his worst season as a pro, including an absolutely brutal month. Mark Streit was signed to a hefty contract and started off quite poorly, although he really turned it around after the Olympic break. Luke Schenn's promising first season in orange and black was nothing but a mirage. Andrej Meszaros was pretty brutal and couldn't even crack the lineup for most of the season; he was eventuially traded. Erik Gustafsson was a source of optimism but he unfortunately could never show the consistency needed to stick in the lineup. It was no surprise that the Flyers were looking to add a defenseman as they approached the trade deadline.

There were quite a few options available at the deadline, but the one player most of us here at Broad Street Hockey did not want was Andrew MacDonald. Naturally, he was the one the Flyers acquired.

 

You could at least attempt to make an optimistic case for MacDonald as a player. He played on a very poor Islanders team as their de facto #1 defenseman. He played exceptionally tough minutes (always starting in his own zone and against very difficult competition) and he played a lot of them. With the Flyers, he wouldn't be asked to do that on our third pairing.

 

Unfortunately, the optimism was a farce. He played less minutes. He played against easier competition. And he started in the offensive zone much, much more. Yet...he still struggled mightily at driving play towards the opponent's end of the rink. MacDonald had the worse relative shot differential among all Flyers defenseman. He almost seemed to be constantly defending.

 

But it was interesting because I had made it a point to closely watch MacDonald play defense and...well, he didn't look that bad. He's a good skater, he can pass. He seemed to have adequate positioning, and he is a very dedicated "man" defender, which is something I feel the Flyers defenseman often lapse on. So what gives?

 

Well, he really did seem to be constantly defending. Eric Tulsky's work revealed MacDonald has some pretty appalling play in the neutral zone which results in him always having to play defense.

 

Six more years

 

From a defenseman's perspective, it's pretty simple. If you breakup the rush before it comes into your zone, that's ideal. It's hard to generate a shot or a scoring chance if you can't get in the offensive zone. If you force your opponent to dump it in deep, they now have to go get it back, which may or may not happen. The worst case scenario is allowing them to carry the puck into the zone where they are free to take a shot.

What Eric found was that MacDonald was the worst on the team in all three areas among the regulars. He was targeted the most at 47.6%, he allowed carry-ins the most often at 78.1%, and he broke up the fewest rushes at 4.7%.

 

For me, my immediate dislike of the MacDonald trade was less about him as a player, and more to do with the fact that he had already turned down a four year $16 million offer from the Islanders. When I looked at contract comparables, I settled on an estimated contract of $4.25 million per season. I just didn't, and still don't, see the value on spending that much on a player that looks like a third pairing guy.

 

Well, it appears my estimate was way off because MacDonald ended up signing a six year extension for $5 million per season.

 

Whether you like what you've seen from MacDonald or not, he now has a similar contract to guys like Paul Martin, Alex Edler, Keith Yandle, Niklas Kronwall, Jay Bouwmeester, James Wisniewski or a number of other guys who are better hockey players than him.

Many are saying that this was his market value and that somebody would have paid him this as a UFA this summer, so the Flyers had to do it to keep him. Sure, I guess. They also have the choice to not overpay just because another team might be dumb.

Preseason expectations

 

We of course did not have preseason expectations for Andrew MacDonald. But what were our expectations at the time of the trade? Well, it's not stretch to think our expectations weren't high, as evidenced from our reaction when the trade broke.

Screen_Shot_2014-03-04_at_4.04.27_PM_med

 

Charlie O'Connor laid out the potential positives of the deal, which had some more concrete expectations. That probably skewed more towards being optimistic than realistic, but it's the best we can do as far as our expectations of him go.

In Philadelphia, MacDonald will have a chance to make the case that high quality competition and heavy minutes helped cause his poor numbers, as he won't be leaned upon nearly as much here as he was in New York.

MacDonald will almost definitely slot in behind Braydon Coburn & Mark Streit in terms of 5v5 ice time, and possibly
. Kimmo Timonen, considering his minutes on the power play and on the penalty kill, will likely beat him in overall time on ice per game as well.

 

MacDonald could be paired with his former teammate Streit on the second pairing at even strength, or even could be used on the third pairing if the Flyers continue to keep Grossmann with Streit.

 

Regardless, MacDonald will not be a top pair defenseman in Philadelphia, at least not this season. The optimist's take would be that weaker competition plus less minutes should equal a better-rested, more efficient Andrew MacDonald.

 

Verdict

 

If we're comparing to Charlie's optimistic expectations, it was hit or miss. He wasn't leaned on as heavily here, and was ultimately used on the third pairing. However, despite his overall minutes being down from on the Island, MacDonald ended up playing the most five-on-five minutes of all Flyers defenseman after he was acquired

 

It's really tough to call this one anything other than a loss; and unfortunately, this looks like one that is going to sting for a while because of the six year extension.

 

He wasn't good in New York. He wasn't good when he got here. He wasn't deserving of that contract extension. Now the Flyers continue to have a silly amount of money committed to their defenseman, and it may not even include Timonen. It appears as if MacDonald is going to have play a bigger role next season, and I'm just not convinced he's capable of turning it around.

 

I really hate to come off overly harsh or critical, but MacDonald continues to get drastically outshot every time he is on the ice. He has talent. As I mentioned previously, I do think he is good in his own zone. I'd just rather he wasn't always in it.

 

Dave Tippet had some great comments in the past about defenseman, and it fits MacDonald like a glove.

We had a player that was supposed to be a great, shut-down defenseman. He was supposedly the be-all, end-all of defensemen. But when you did a 10-game analysis of him, you found out he was defending all the time because he can't move the puck.

Then we had another guy, who supposedly couldn't defend a lick. Well, he was defending only 20 percent of the time because he's making good plays out of our end. He may not be the strongest defender, but he's only doing it 20 percent of the time. So the equation works out better the other way. I ended up trading the other defenseman.

That's what you have with Andrew MacDonald. The puck-moving isn't the issue with him but it appears the neutral zone play may be. The end result is that he's constantly defending; and that's no good.

Edited by hf101
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Thought this was really a great read via Broad Street - expect great things (as Rad likes to say):

 

I posted this on the resigning Amac thread but i think i just addressed this to Rad-o-wick...my favorite part was this:

 

 

Just some perspective on said player....tae from it what you will... it particularly enjoyed this tidbit from Tippett:

 

Dave Tippet had some great comments in the past about defenseman, and it fits MacDonald like a glove.

We had a player that was supposed to be a great, shut-down defenseman.

 

He was supposedly the be-all, end-all of defensemen. But when you did a 10-game analysis of him, you found out he was defending all the time because he can't move the puck.

 

Then we had another guy, who supposedly couldn't defend a lick. Well, he was defending only 20 percent of the time because he's making good plays out of our end.

 

He may not be the strongest defender, but he's only doing it 20 percent of the time. So the equation works out better the other way. 
I ended up trading the other defenseman
.

So gulp 6 more years....thank God he doesn't have a NTC or NMC.

 

Thanks Homer for effin them out the door ya friggin bum!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  :angry:

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It's fun to hate a player and pick to pieces a Holmgren contract... But Here's the onion in that ointment (or maybe the ointment in that onion):

The team did better after they got him.

By my math a winning % of .571 before the trade and .625 after the trade.

Personally I feel like most of those points seemed highly subjective anyway.

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other than the contract, i don't really see where all the hate is coming from.

 

he's one of 3 defensman on our team that doesn't act like the puck is a live hand grenade when it is on his stick.

I'd like to see him not give up so much real estate at the blue line defending the rush, but that can be coached. He's smart, mobile and plays a pretty solid all around game.

Look , he's not Shea Weber or Duncan Keith...

really, if he's one of 3 or four guys that can can skate some and maybe win a race to the corner, make a play on a pinch, defend decently  i don't see what the problem is.  i really don't think he's lead dog material but he's a guy that makes the whole unit more skilled and the team better.

 

just one guys thoughts though.

Edited by mojo1917
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@mojo1917

 

chiming in because I'm referenced twice earlier.

 

I just don't think he's a $5M defenceman, nor do I think he's going to be a $5M defenceman. Homer's gamble was that players of his skill set and effectiveness (shot blocking and the skating ability you reference) will be worth more than $5M six years from now.

 

I disagree with that point. And his Corsi stats apparently don't bear out what our (yes, "our") lying eyes are telling us. Could be that we notice him getting the puck out of the zone so often because he's in his own zone so often (referencing the above article).

 

I base my comparison on Kris Russell from Calgary

 

Russell - #3 shot blocking among defencemen, 29 points in 66 games (12 PPP), -11, 27 years old, seven year pro, 4 20+ point seasons, UFA

MacDonald - #1 shot blocking among defencemen (+41 blocks over Russell), 28 points in 82 games (11 PPP), -22, 27 years old, six year pro, two 20+ point seasons, UFA

 

Russell: 2 years, $2.6M per

MacDonald: 6 years, $5M per

 

The direct, apples-to-apples comparison is striking. I just find it to be another, glaring example of Homer fixing a short-term problem with a long-term contract at a high number. That's wudder under the bridge, of course. But that's still a six-year legacy.

 

What is Chris Butler (Calgary, #2 overall shot blocking among defencemen (-31 blocks to MacDonald), 16 points in 82 games (0 PPP), -23, 27 years old, six year pro, one 20+ point seasons, UFA) "worth" in this market? He made $1.7M last season. I'll wager that his agent is encouraging him to wait on re-signing to test the market and I'll bet Russell's was re-thinking signing at $2.6M on February 8 when MacDonald went for $5M on April 15. As it stands, Butler could get more than Russell.

 

I don't at all "hate" the player, but I have all of 26 games that I've really watched him play. I have not had a significant problem with him to this point but certainly nothing that said to me he was a foundation piece (six-year contract). Beyond the contract, and he's not a fool for signing it.

 

And I certainly hope that it works out in the Flyers' favor.

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  This was an interesting article. I think it's a bit harsh. Looking back, I'm questioning if I was objective when watching him. I saw a 6'1 200 pound defender who had a nice fluid stride. I liked him from the moment I saw him in O&B. I saw it as a step in the right direction, starting to build a core of good solid skaters back there. Because of that, I wonder if I ignored some of the negatives in his game. I honestly did not see a lot of the neutral zone mishaps this article was keying on. I hold the winning percentage positive in much higher esteem than the negative corsi stats.

 

 If McDonald is so bad, why did we see the very best Luke Schenn when he was paired with Andrew? Luke went from questionable to reliable once McDonald got here....and therein lies his value, he makes the 3rd pairing formidable. The rather obvious improved defensive zone coverage was the real reason why we won 7 out 10 once he got here. The team was no longer vulnerable to the 3rd pairing being mismatched against scoring forwards when the defense can't be switched up. I'm wondering what the writer of this questionable article thinks that is worth?

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other than the contract, i don't really see where all the hate is coming from.

 

he's one of 3 defensman on our team that doesn't act like the puck is a live hand grenade when it is on his stick.

I'd like to see him not give up so much real estate at the blue line defending the rush, but that can be coached. He's smart, mobile and plays a pretty solid all around game.

Look , he's not Shea Weber or Duncan Keith...

really, if he's one of 3 or four guys that can can skate some and maybe win a race to the corner, make a play on a pinch, defend decently  i don't see what the problem is.  i really don't think he's lead dog material but he's a guy that makes the whole unit more skilled and the team better.

 

just one guys thoughts though.

My thoughts too. Really don't know what the problem is here. If I was building a team and had my pick of Flyers defensemen, MacDonald would probably be the guy I'd take (that's not saying much but it is what it is). I watched every game he played for the Flyers and never felt that they made a mistake in trading for him. He's a big improvement over Meszaros in my opinion. He represents one step in re-shaping the Flyers blue line. Just one step, and decent one. Did they give him too much money? Who knows. Maybe, maybe not. But if you're going to overpay defense is probably the place to do it.

I don't know if people are blaming Homer for the contract, but if you are you might as well blame Hextall too because there is no way he wasn't involved.

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This is interesting to me.

1. Streit isn't even mentioned in the players summary.

2. Was Timonen really your best defenseman last year? Really??

3. Win % had more to do with Berube than all of the defensemen combined.

4. The more offense means less defensive issues argument works pretty well. I use it supporting Letang all the time. It's truth.

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@mojo1917

 

chiming in because I'm referenced twice earlier.

 

I just don't think he's a $5M defenceman, nor do I think he's going to be a $5M defenceman. Homer's gamble was that players of his skill set and effectiveness (shot blocking and the skating ability you reference) will be worth more than $5M six years from now.

 

I disagree with that point. And his Corsi stats apparently don't bear out what our (yes, "our") lying eyes are telling us. Could be that we notice him getting the puck out of the zone so often because he's in his own zone so often (referencing the above article).

 

I base my comparison on Kris Russell from Calgary

 

Russell - #3 shot blocking among defencemen, 29 points in 66 games (12 PPP), -11, 27 years old, seven year pro, 4 20+ point seasons, UFA

MacDonald - #1 shot blocking among defencemen (+41 blocks over Russell), 28 points in 82 games (11 PPP), -22, 27 years old, six year pro, two 20+ point seasons, UFA

 

Russell: 2 years, $2.6M per

MacDonald: 6 years, $5M per

 

The direct, apples-to-apples comparison is striking. I just find it to be another, glaring example of Homer fixing a short-term problem with a long-term contract at a high number. That's wudder under the bridge, of course. But that's still a six-year legacy.

 

What is Chris Butler (Calgary, #2 overall shot blocking among defencemen (-31 blocks to MacDonald), 16 points in 82 games (0 PPP), -23, 27 years old, six year pro, one 20+ point seasons, UFA) "worth" in this market? He made $1.7M last season. I'll wager that his agent is encouraging him to wait on re-signing to test the market and I'll bet Russell's was re-thinking signing at $2.6M on February 8 when MacDonald went for $5M on April 15. As it stands, Butler could get more than Russell.

 

I don't at all "hate" the player, but I have all of 26 games that I've really watched him play. I have not had a significant problem with him to this point but certainly nothing that said to me he was a foundation piece (six-year contract). Beyond the contract, and he's not a fool for signing it.

 

And I certainly hope that it works out in the Flyers' favor.

 

I agree with everything in your post. Well stated.

 

The only noticeable difference between Russell and MacDonald is TOI over their careers - 17:45 for Russell vs 23:07 for MacD. But last season, Russell averaged 23+ minutes and MacD was at 21. 

 

But at the end of the day, I do not see MacDonald as a core piece of this team. I don't see him as a particularly good defender, and I don't see $5M value from him.

 

Here's to six more years!

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But at the end of the day, I do not see MacDonald as a core piece of this team. I don't see him as a particularly good defender, and I don't see $5M value from him.

 

Without a long drwn out post this is a perfect summary.  Well said and completely agree.

 

I hope he turns out to be the next Lidstrom ;)

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Looks like MacDonald will be the new "Carter or Carle "  yay, there orange smoke from vorhees means a new whipping boy has been appointed.

 

If Hextall can find 4 more players that can skate with good two way games for our defense corps then I'll be pleased. 

I look at the Rangers defense corps with envy. 

MacDougnah , Strahlman, Staal, Girardi are all good skaters with good two way instincts.

 

Now i'm not a huge fan of trying to duplicate last year's winning formula, but if A Mac is one of those "type" players we'll be happy campers.

I think he's a good hockey player, you can never have too many of those guys on your team.  He's smart , quick, generally makes good decisions.

there is no NMC and if he turns into a terrible bust of epic proportions, he can be moved, ugly contract and all at a to be determined trade deadline deal  in the future or can be part of a package in a block buster type deal to bring a Drew Doughty type player to town.

 

I want to see him play some more before I start with the hate, because I didn't think he was our problem, I actually thought on the eyeball test he was solid.

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I want to see him play some more before I start with the hate, because I didn't think he was our problem, I actually thought on the eyeball test he was solid.

 

I agree mojo and there is always a whipping boy with the Flyers ;)

 

I think he passed the eye test but I will say I thought he was less than stellar against the Rangers.  I like what I saw for the most part but I also thought the contract was too much and too long.  Like I said before - I hope he is the next untapped Lidstrom.  Time will tell if he is someone that deserves that contract...

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I want to see him play some more before I start with the hate, because I didn't think he was our problem, I actually thought on the eyeball test he was solid.

I agree mojo and there is always a whipping boy with the Flyers

 

Just for the record, I've never said anything about "hating" the player and was pleasantly surprised with his play and have said so on these forums and earlier in this thread. He's not, in my opinion, a $5M defenseman and nothing has been said that would indicate that there is any reason to believe he will be. Few will be happier than I to be wrong.

 

To try to belittle any discussion of the contract, the commitment the team made (NMC or no) and the actual, real, direct, apples to apples comparisons to other players of the same age and comparable achievement at UFA status as "hate" is simply disingenuous.

 

I never "hated" Carle and bemoan his departure to this day. I don't "hate" Coburn. Or Grossmann. Or The Bad Schenn for all that matter - nickname or no (hate the deal, not the player). In fact, believe it or not, I don't "hate" the defensive corps.

 

Even my use of Crater was more than equal parts poking fun at my dear friend davies' inadvertant misspelling in a defense of the player (which amuses her to this day) and against the overstatement of how bad he was before adding a tinge of my own dissatisfaction with his play.

 

Because by dismissing hard, factual discussion as "hate" is to admit you have no response to the hard, factual arguments being made.

 

And you're better than that.

 

Now, some good ol' "Hate" would be something akin to "the Flyers just paid more money than Garth Snow was willing to pay in order to acquire the New York Islanders' top pair defencemen as an upgrade" - and surely no one would say such a thing... :ph34r:

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ven my use of Crater was more than equal parts poking fun at my dear friend davies' inadvertant misspelling in a defense of the player

 

I hated him, still do, always will.   :D

 

That doesn't change the fact he could win a Conn Smythe trophy tonight, however.  

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@radoran

 

My post should probably have addressed the bleacher report writer as the target of my resigned sigh and exaggerated eye roll.

 

I don't recall ever singling you out as the "hater general of the HF forums" . Perhaps "Radoran , Chief Skeptic, bubble bursting division" would be a more accurate title...

I do appreciate skepticism, but  I digress.

 

I  have mentioned the contract as being less than desirable.

 

The NMC is the best thing going for that contract and mention of it should not be regarded as "belittling" .

 

I have to be honest, I wouldn't know who that player for Calgary was or is if he was standing in front of me.   So despite his comparison being a true apples to apples exercise and thoughtfully researched, you may have well been comparing the rapper Black Lungz to Kanye West for the amount of damn I could give about him.

 

The guy (AMac) played well for the team after he was acquired.  

 

AMac and his agent would have laughed directly in the face of Holmgren had he offered the contract in the Chris Butler "range".

 

He turned down 4 x 4 from the Island , it wasn't like he was looking at those numbers and thinking he was going to sign anywhere for less.

 

I think it is a shamtravesty AMac makes more than Niklas Hjarmalsson, but he does. Wudder under the bridge at this point and it is perfectly fair to expect great things from the player.

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Just for the record, I've never said anything about "hating" the player and was pleasantly surprised with his play and have said so on these forums and earlier in this thread. He's not, in my opinion, a $5M defenseman and nothing has been said that would indicate that there is any reason to believe he will be. Few will be happier than I to be wrong.

 

To try to belittle any discussion of the contract, the commitment the team made (NMC or no) and the actual, real, direct, apples to apples comparisons to other players of the same age and comparable achievement at UFA status as "hate" is simply disingenuous.

 

I never "hated" Carle and bemoan his departure to this day. I don't "hate" Coburn. Or Grossmann. Or The Bad Schenn for all that matter - nickname or no (hate the deal, not the player). In fact, believe it or not, I don't "hate" the defensive corps.

 

Even my use of Crater was more than equal parts poking fun at my dear friend davies' inadvertant misspelling in a defense of the player (which amuses her to this day) and against the overstatement of how bad he was before adding a tinge of my own dissatisfaction with his play.

 

Because by dismissing hard, factual discussion as "hate" is to admit you have no response to the hard, factual arguments being made.

 

And you're better than that.

 

Now, some good ol' "Hate" would be something akin to "the Flyers just paid more money than Garth Snow was willing to pay in order to acquire the New York Islanders' top pair defencemen as an upgrade" - and surely no one would say such a thing... :ph34r:

 

 

rad...  there was no reference meant to you about the "whipping boy" and I agree 100% w/ you on this.  Flyers fans in general always have a whipping boy - Carle, AMac, Coburn, etc...

 

Based on similar players, AMac's contract and what I expect I am fully transparent about him being my whipping boy for the upcoming season ;)

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Based on similar players, AMac's contract and what I expect I am fully transparent about him being my whipping boy for the upcoming season

 

You're not alone. And for the record i don't hate the player....at least not yet....i just hate the contract....i think 5 years 4.25mill per i'd been happy with.

 

But the one feature i like most is the absence of a NMC or NTC and i don't expect him to finish that contract in Philly.

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I think it is a shamtravesty AMac makes more than Niklas Hjarmalsson, but he does. Wudder under the bridge at this point and it is perfectly fair to expect great things from the player.

 

 I'm a big fan of Harmalsson, but he was horrible against the Kings. His defensive zone coverage was one of the main reasons the Hawks lost, from where I'm sitting. He had an off series, it happens, and it does not take away from his overall excellent body of work, but damn, he was stinky at a bad time.

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 I'm a big fan of Harmalsson, but he was horrible against the Kings. His defensive zone coverage was one of the main reasons the Hawks lost, from where I'm sitting. He had an off series, it happens, and it does not take away from his overall excellent body of work, but damn, he was stinky at a bad time.

 

 

Yeah but he wasn't alone Handzus didn't play well along with Bollig, Versteeg. Kruger and Leddy too....really noticeable chinks in their armor that weren't noticeable that playoffs...i imagine some tweaks to go on with that team to try and get Towes and Kane resigned.

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