As far as I am concerned, we come to one of the underrated defenseman in the NHL in Andrew MacDonald. To me, paired with Travis Hamonic, they were the best blue line combination that took the ice for the New York Islanders this passed season.
A-Mac isn’t always the flashiest guy out there, and, often, it’s a lot more of the “little things” he does over the “big things” that is noticeable to someone who pays attention to the games. Steady and reliable, he, in my humble opinion, was one of the best guys on the D the Isles have had over the last couple of season. Coming back from his late season hip surgery maybe caused a slower start for him, but he found his game and got better and back to his old form as the games were played and the campaign progressed.
Here are some of my “blind observations” about Andrew MacDonald in regard to his season in review:
• He played in 75 games this season, which, for a defenseman, is surely a solid number. He only missed 7 because of an injury.
• 5 goals and 14 assists was, perhaps, not a stellar tally, but was also a very nice showing.
• His -5 rating, to me, is certainly not a bad rating for a defenseman who played on a team that had a negative goal differential. You have to look at the “big picture” sometimes when it comes to the +/- category, as it can be misleading at times.
• Big plays and steady play. I can’t tell you how many times that big stick of his found its way in the right place at the right time to prevent a good scoring chance or clear the puck out of harm’s way. MacDonald is one of those guys who seems to know where to be positioned just when it’s needed, and he rarely made the wrong decision or was not in the right place.
• Would I like to see his offensive numbers increase? Of course. Do I think he can provide more on offense? Yes. I think this is something that will improve over time.
• Overall, I would have to give him an A Minus as his overall grade. I don’t think the Islanders could have asked for much more out of him.
As for the upcoming season, I expect to only see the same consistent and solid play from Andrew Mac Donald. He is an important part of the six guys on the back line who will start the season for the Islanders. Like this passed season, I also think that he will make up the top pair for the team with Hamonic again.
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