Current Flyers Players With the Most to Prove Part 2: Andrew Macdonald

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With the highly anticipated 2017-18 Philadelphia Flyers NHL season just around the corner. It’s time to start programming hockey minds that the Flyers organization has been revolutionized. The time is now to start believing in the youth infusion that will occur this season.

The new and improved Flyers organization now headed by General Manager Ron Hextall has revolutionized the once cap constrained franchise. In just three short years, Hextall has preached patience with the young prospects, and has freed the Flyers from cap problems that have plagued them for many years. Finally, the City of Philadelphia can now see the light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully the end result will be with a parade down Broad St. in a few years.

There are many players on the current Flyers roster that have a lot to prove this coming season. If these players do not improve from prior years, then the end result might be a young prospect taking their spot on the roster in the near future. In this week’s Part 2 segment, let’s look at Defenseman Andrew Macdonald.

MacDonald was a catalyst who struggled to clear the zone on a nightly basis during the months of December through February in the 2016-17 season. His overall numbers were not too shabby, finishing the year with 2 goals, 16 assists for a total of 18 points, and was -5. However, he struggled with turnovers when he had to clear the puck from his own zone. This led to odd man rushes and breakaways on the goaltenders, thus placing them into really tough situations night in and night out. It really made the Flyers defense look leaky.

For the season, MacDonald had a total of 50 giveaways. This was good for the fourth highest on the team, and it was the 3rd highest total for defenseman. Ivan Provorov had the most giveaways with 81, and Shayne Gostisbehere came in second with 70. This left MacDonald with a .2 TA/GA margin, and Provorov and Gostisbehere each shared a .3 TA/GA margin. However, MacDonald is a ten year veteran in the NHL. It is unfair to contribute this problem to the learning Provorov or Gostisbehere.

The Flyers as a team ranked 18th out of 30 teams with 236 goals against. They scored 219 goals for, giving them a -17 goal differential. Some problems can be contributed to goaltending, but with no clear outlets of the zone this gives the opposition second chance opportunities.

Let’s take a look at the final Corsi ratings for Flyers defensemen. Second year blueliner Gostisbehere had the highest Corsi rating finishing with 53.7%. To no one’s surprise, MacDonald finished with the worst Corsi Rating for a Flyers defensemen with 48.0%. Although, a Corsi rating is not contributed to takeaways and giveaways. A player with a lower Corsi rating often finds themselves chasing the puck more. It also places the team more often in defensive situations. Simply put, Macdonald has to get better in transition next season.

Transitioning out of the defensive zone has been a problem for the Flyers for the past few seasons. Turnovers do not help the cause. It hurts the cause. Unfortunately,  Macdonald has been a key catalyst for this stat for the past few seasons.

In his ten year career, Macdonald has had his fair share of ups and downs. He looks really solid at times, and other times he looks like he can’t handle the pressure of other opponents. This leads to lots of turnovers in his own end, and it hurts the Flyers chances to transition out of their defensive zone smoothly.

Veterans like MacDonald have to be better next season to aide the young defensive corps. Hopefully he can learn from his mistakes from prior years, and perform at a high level this coming season. With the young defenseman in the pipeline chomping at the bit for a chance with the Flyers. Macdonald will be on a short leash this season. One thing is certain Flyers fans, the future is bright in Flyer land.

 

Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

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