The regular season is a month away and training camps have not even opened up yet, but the Philadelphia Flyers have already suffered a major loss. The team announced this morning that defenseman Andrew MacDonald has suffered a lower-body injury and will be out for an estimated six weeks. MacDonald reportedly suffered the injury during a workout away from the team, according to GM Ron Hextall.
MacDonald, 32, is in his sixth season with the Flyers and his eleventh overall. The veteran defenseman has had ups and downs in his career, but provides experience and leadership on the young Philly blue line. An alternate captain for the team and the oldest skater on the roster, MacDonald’s loss, especially at the start of the season, could be a blow to the Philadelphia locker room. With a six week window for recovery, MacDonald is sure to miss all of camp and the preseason and will likely miss the first two weeks or more of the regular season.
In his absence, the Flyers will need to lean more on their young defensive core. Shayne Gostisbehere, Ivan Provorov, and Robert Hagg have established themselves as the next wave of top defenders for Philadelphia and were primed to take ice time and responsibility from MacDonald this season regardless. Now they will especially be thrust into more responsibility, as will veteran Radko Gudas. Travis Sanheim and Christian Folin will now begin the season with guaranteed starting jobs now that MacDonald is out, giving the Flyers a rounded out top six. With Samuel Morin sidelined for at least a few more months with an ACL injury, one big question now is who begins the season as the Flyers’ extra defender until MacDonald can return.