After being cut and waived by the Flyers early last season, that’s not likely to be the case this time around, CSN Philly’s Tim Panaccio believes. Not only does Philadelphia have the room to keep his $5MM cap hit on the books but MacDonald’s ability to play both sides on the blueline has made him a much more valuable player to have around.
Last season, MacDonald formed a pairing with Michael Del Zotto with MacDonald playing on the left side. In camp, he has found himself on the right side alongside top prospect Ivan Provorov, who appears likely to make the opening night roster.
The Flyers currently have eight defensemen in camp and are expected to trim that to seven before the season gets underway. While it remains likely that the team could ship MacDonald back to the minors as he would be a safe bet to clear waivers, another option is Brandon Manning, who was in and out of the lineup last season and would be in a similar role if he were to break camp with the team. However, he would have to clear waivers to be sent down. The only players who don’t are Provorov and Calder finalist Shayne Gostisbehere, who is a lock to make the team.
[Related: Flyers Depth Chart]
More out of Philadelphia:
- While rookies who quickly surge to become impact players midseason often drop off the next year, the Flyers are expecting Gostisbehere to buck that trend, writes Dave Isaac of the Courier-Post. After starting last season in the AHL, he was recalled and quickly became a force, scoring 17 goals while adding 29 assists in just 64 games and merely repeating those numbers over a full season would have him among the higher scoring blueliners in the league once again. The 23 year old logged just over 20 minutes per game last season and will likely shoulder a similar workload in 2016-17.
- Speed is a huge factor in today’s NHL which should work well for 2015 Flyer first rounder Travis Konecny, Isaac pens in a separate piece. The 19 year old is looking to forego his last junior season (with OHL Sarnia) to stick with Philadelphia and has made a strong impression at camp, leading the team in preseason scoring with four points in four games. However, at just 5’10, he’s undersized for the bottom six role he would likely play with the team. As a junior aged player, Konecny can play in nine NHL games before burning the first year of his entry level contract.
- Also from the above column, center Nick Cousins is attempting to transition to the left wing. Although he spent a good portion of the season as their third line center last year, the bottom two spots at that position appear to be earmarked for returnee Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and newcomer Boyd Gordon. Cousins appears to be open to the move, telling Isaac, “It’s going to be a little different, but I’m open to try it. I think once I get used to it, I’ll be good at it. I’ll fit in wherever they want me.”