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How big a raise can the Isles give Andrew MacDonald?

Jan 14, 2014, 11:46 AM EDT

Andrew MacDonald #47 of the New York Islanders carries the puck against the Phoenix Coyotes at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on October 8, 2013 in Uniondale, New York.
(October 7, 2013 - Source: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

According to ESPN New York, “preliminary” negotiations are underway between the New York Islanders and defenseman Andrew MacDonald.

Which begs the question: How much more is MacDonald going to get paid?

One of the NHL’s best bargains — four years at $2.2 million, a $550,000 cap hit — MacDonald leads all Isles defensemen in assists (19), points (22), time on ice per game (25:43) and blocked shots (159).  He’s been one of the club’s most durable players over the last three years and serves as an alternate captain.

So, simply put, he’s in line for a big raise.

Of course, things aren’t that simple.

The Isles aren’t a spend-to-the-cap team, currently operating under the NHL’s second-lowest payroll, and New York’s history of retaining UFA blueliners doesn’t shed much insight — last year they re-upped with Lubomir Visnovsky, but cut ties with Mark Streit.

What’s more, the club has a slew of young defensemen — Travis Hamonic, Aaron Ness, Calvin de Haan, Matt Donovan — and some really talented blueliners on the way in Griffin Reinhart, Ryan Pulock, Scott Mayfield, Ville Pokka and Adam Pelech.

(The Isles, lest we forget, drafted seven defensemen in 2012.)

From McDonald’s perspective, he wields a pretty big stick. The prospect of a 27-year-old UFA defenseman with his resume hitting the open market is tantalizing, especially in a year where the cap will rise (to a projected $71.1 million.)

So maybe the above question needs a new spin. The query might not be how much Andrew MacDonald is going to get paid  — it might be which club will show him the money.

  1. elvispocomo - Jan 14, 2014 at 1:28 PM

    You can only rely on youth will take you so far – look at the Oilers. The younger prospects might be talented, but he’s a guy I’d think they try and retain even if they look at a moderate term of maybe 3-4 years. You can always move your redundant depth to fill other holes (*cough* goaltending *cough*) and they need to become a playoff team to give their youngsters a better culture of winning.

    • ibieiniid - Jan 14, 2014 at 3:10 PM

      I think MacDonald is past the point of another 3-4 year contract with the Isles. they’ve had him cheap for 4 years, he’ll be wanting to be paid this time around. He’s a higher-tier defenseman and has made only 3.6mil over the last 7 years. That’s asinine. I made a (probably incorrect) prediction that Viktor Fasth is an Islander next year. I started to think about who they’d trade in return, MacDonald popped in my head immediately but after checking capgeek, I figured there was no way the Islanders wouldn’t just pay him, but they’re gonna HAVE TO if they want to hold onto him this time around.

      • elvispocomo - Jan 14, 2014 at 3:32 PM

        For sure he’ll get a raise, just whether the Isles want to include more term with it is the question. If they do want to keep some of those young stars, they’ll have to step in at some point and it’s hard to do if you’re keeping around guys once they hit 30+.

        Maybe they don’t add an NTC to it since he’s not quite at that level, and it allows them to move him if the cap hit is good later, but they’ll want to have him around if he’s helping them move forward.

      • ibieiniid - Jan 14, 2014 at 3:50 PM

        the term is kinda what I was talking about. i used the wrong words but by “pay him,” i meant committing to paying him. I don’t think he’d take another 4 year though, tbh. there’s plenty of teams that WOULD sign him for big money long term (like 5 or 6 possibly) and I’m sure he’s aware. I think this particular case is interesting already. kinda shows which direction the isles are pointing their cannon.

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