With the first buyout window underway, the Philadelphia Flyers wasted no time in utilizing it. They have placed defenceman Andrew MacDonald on unconditional waivers for the purpose of terminating his contract. MacDonald had one more year left one a six-year deal that paid him $5M per season.
Per GM Chuck Fletcher: The #Flyers have placed defenseman Andrew MacDonald on unconditional waivers for the purpose of terminating his contract.
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) June 15, 2019
Andrew MacDonald On Unconditional Waivers
The 32-year-old defencemen just finished his fifth season with the Flyers. With one season left on his contract, the Flyers will save approximately $3.83M with the buyout. They will be faced with a cap hit of a little under $1.92M in the 2020-21 season. This all assumes he clears waivers, though. However, it is unlikely another team takes on his cap hit.
This move comes a day after GM Chuck Fletcher traded Radko Gudas to the Washington Capitals for Matt Niskanen. It also comes as no surprise to most. His role on the Flyers had significantly decreased as the years went on. He came to the team averaging 22 minutes of ice time a game. That number dropped to an average of 16 minutes last season.
MacDonald spent time with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in 2015 after he was waived by the team. He played 43 games for the Phantoms that season, returning for 28 games with the Flyers late in the season.
During his Flyers career, MacDonald posted 11 goals and 61 assists in 291 games. He was acquired from the New York Islanders. The trade was for Matt Mangene, a 2014 third round pick and a 2015 second round pick. He was then signed to a 6-year, $30M extension.
A Crowded Back-End Gets Thinner
Buying out the remainder of MacDonald’s contract opens up more space on a slightly crowded defensive end for the Flyers. Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim will be re-signed. Phil Myers will likely move to a full-time role in the lineup. Niskanen will be the veteran in this group. Robert Hagg is also likely to return.
The potential question mark on defence is Shayne Gostisbehere. Rumors have swirled that his name is on the trading block. It’s possible the buyout of MacDonald could save Gostisbehere’s job, but it is not a given. Fletcher has mentioned his want for an equal amount of defensive and offensive defencemen.
The buyout of Andrew MacDonald continues to prove how aggressive Fletcher plans to be this season. This certainly won’t be the last move the team makes.
Main Photo by Kate Frese (@KateFresePhoto), licensed to Last Word on Hockey. The Photographer retains all rights to the photograph.