October 05, 2015
Ron Hextall made it clear early on in the preseason that he wasn’t going to play any of the kids before he had to. The likes of Provorov, Konecny, Gostisbehere, Sanheim, and Morin were all sent down well before final cuts. Hextall isn’t running a daycare, or something like that.
The philosophy didn’t preclude him from getting rid of veterans with big salaries. The Flyers’ final cut is 29-year-old defenseman Andrew MacDonald, who has five years and $25 million left on his outrageous contract. The message here is simple: Hextall doesn’t feel the need to justify a massive cap figure, especially one he wasn’t responsible for.
“It was a tough decision,” Hextall said. “He’s an NHL player, but we were in a jam here with a roster spot, the cap issue, and we also have to put our best team on the ice Thursday night.”
Here's some thoughts on the move:
• We wrote about Scott Laughton and Brandon Manning last week, and MacDonald’s release was good news for both of them. They are both expected to be in the lineup on opening night.
• Hexy on Laughton, a 21-year-old former first-round pick: “Scotty pushed hard and I give him credit. He had to come in here and really make us a better team. Thus far that’s what he’s done. We are a better team with Scott Laughton on our team. Give the kid credit - he pushed the envelope and made this team."
• If another team claims MacDonald, his entire cap hit comes off the books and it’s party time in Voorhees. That obviously won’t happen, so the Flyers will receive $950,000 of cap relief when MacDonald clears waivers. The 29-year-old defenseman will then be sent to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
• This move also allowed the Flyers to keep Luke Schenn, who has one year and $3.6 million on his deal. It’s much more likely that a team would have scooped Schenn up if he were placed on waivers, so now the Flyers have more trade flexibility this season.
• Even though Manning may not be a major upgrade over MacDonald, the contract was a disaster from the beginning. MacDonald is a player that the analytics aren’t kind to, mostly because he plays softer coverage than Eric Rowe and allows the opposition to carry the puck into the offensive zone far too easily.
• Injuries happen, and MacDonald will likely be back in Orange and Black at some point this season. For now, though, here was how Hextall described his reaction: “Probably typical. Shocked, but he’s a pro.”
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