While it is certainly understandable that the Los Angeles Kings would be in the market for a goal-scorer as they prepare for another playoff push, the popular notion that defense wins championship certainly cannot go unnoticed, especially at this time of year. With that said, it wouldn’t hurt the Kings to enter their ballot in the Andrew MacDonald sweepstakes.
In 60 games this season, the New York Islanders defenseman has four goals and 20 assists. So, let’s be honest, if the Kings are looking for offensive help from MacDonald, they would be very disappointed. They wouldn’t be much more thrilled with his size. While MacDonald certainly isn’t small by any means, his 6’1, 196-pound frame doesn’t intimidate many. Fortunately, MacDonald’s lack of offensive ability and his size aren’t what makes this veteran a solid defenseman.
Instead, MacDonald is as defensive as they come. Much like Rob Scuderi, it doesn’t matter that MacDonald can go weeks and months without registering a single point because how he sacrifices his body to save his team from trouble more than makes up for his near-inability to score.
Currently, MacDonald leads all NHLers in blocked shots with a whopping 192 – an average of 3.2 per game. The Isles’ D-man also has experience on his side being a six-year NHL veteran plus he is still only 27. When Los Angeles signed Rob Scuderi in 2009, he was 31 – still young but a few years less than MacDonald.
Speaking of Scuderi, the Kings have really missed his services since he returned to Pittsburgh last summer. While Drew Doughty and Robyn Regehr both play exceptional defense, the same cannot be said for Jake Muzzin who continues to struggle on the Los Angeles blueline. As for Willie Mitchell, while he is still fairly effective, he has lost a step since missing all of last season with a knee injury. Plus, since he’ll be 37 this coming April, Mitchell is, with all due respect, no spring chicken.
As for Andrew MacDonald, he will be a free agent this summer and arguably the hottest defenseman on the trade market. The Islanders are asking for a first-rounder in exchange for their defenseman, so (Kings’ GM) Dean Lombardi and company will have to judge for themselves whether parting ways with a potentially-valuable draft choice will be worth acquiring such a solid textbook defenseman.
After all, as much upside as MacDonald may have, he is a -16 this season. Of course, in all fairness, the Islanders aren’t exactly prime examples for how to keep the puck out of the net.
While their 164 goals for leaves them in the middle of the pack in the league, the Islanders’ 200 goals against ranks them dead-last in the entire NHL.
Another downside would be MacDonald’s asking price should the Kings acquire (and re-sign) him beyond this season. MacDonald is asking for roughly $5-million per which would be a fairly significant cap hit. Then again, the aforementioned Lombardi and company can certainly unload one of their assets – but that’s a different story.
During the 2009 Stanley Cup Final, I was so mesmerized by the blue-collar of Rob Scuderi that I wanted, nay, craved the Kings signing him. I feel the same way about a younger Andrew MacDonald. Whether the Kings will actually make a push for the stay-at-home defenseman remains to be seen. Being that this is purely hypothetical, however, it certainly is fun to think about.