Islanders Summer Report Card : Colin McDonald


May 11, 2013; Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders right wing

Colin McDonald

(13) plays the puck in front of Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman

Kris Letang

(58) during the second period of game six of the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports


Student Report

  • Name: Colin McDonald
  • Enrolled: 2013
  • Age: 28
  • Undergraduate: 2003
  • Days Absent : 3
  • Scholarship: 2 years remaining at $637,500
  • Achievements: 45 games played, 7 goals, 10 assists, -1, 32 PIM, 82 shots, 30:06 PROD

Class List And Grade History

  • Skating: B
  • Shooting: B-
  • Passing: C
  • Defense: B
  • Leadership: B-

Evaluator Comments: Just as integral to a team’s overall success as their top players is the play of the third and fourth lines. A look at the 2013 New York Islanders proves this said theory. McDonald was a cast-off of the Edmonton Oilers and Pittsburgh Penguins amateur ranks. Drafted 51st overall in 2003 out of Providence College, Colin would not get a taste of NHL action until 2009 when he appeared in two games for the Oilers and notched his first NHL goal.

It would be back to the AHL after that, setting career highs with the Oklahoma City Barons in 2010 scoring an amazing 42 goals in 80 games. But that would prove to be more of an exception rather than a rule as being a top flight sniper never really fit his scouting report. Another 5 game NHL tryout would occur with the Penguins in 2011 before the Islanders signed him to a one year two way contract to join the organization’s rebuild.

It was his character and hard work that general manager Garth Snow saw in him as a perfect fit to add to the bottom two lines and round out the depth that the Islanders so sorely needed at the time. After playing 35 games with Bridgeport and notching 6-21-27 he got the call as the lockout ended and proved all his worth to the Islanders.

Playing primarily with Casey Cizikas and Matt Martin, they would provide dogged forechecking and hard work in the corners that on many occasions kept the opponent’s defense on their heels and set up the momentum for the teams top players to carry over. Anything he would provide offensively would be a boost and a late two goal game in Philadelphia would cement his status as a very integral part of the club going forward.

Always known to be an above average skater, Colin uses his straight line speed and agility to get into the offensive zone rather quickly and is a better puck handler than some might think given his lower line status.

He possesses a good shot and can beat a goaltender from distance, providing he uses a quick release and is aided by traffic in front. As with many of the Islanders, he needs to adjust his accuracy this off-season and get more of his attempts on goal.

Passing could use work. Not saying that he is awful but an opinion could be forged that he is slightly below average in this category.

Defensively, as with his other two linemates, he is very good. Cycling down low to help out his defenseman and having the speed to recover and get back to cover his pointman were all on display this year. Head coach Jack Capuano does not hesitate to put this line out against other teams top offensive players and play crucial minutes in the third period and closing seconds of a game.

Colin can grow into a leadership role. With most leaders, you want them to set the standard of leading by example and he never seems to take a shift off. Showing a willingness to mix it up from time to time in defense of his teammates is another trait that has earned him respect in the locker room.

Professor Recommendations: For $637k, the Isles sure got a lot of mileage out of McDonald this season after another savvy performance of scouting by the Isles front office and Snow. Showing a clear knack to give players a chance that other organizations consider to be cast-offs, most of these moves have worked out in forcing the rebuild forward. And this is certainly no exception.

The bottom two lines for New York performed admirably and consistently, at times even changing the entire complexion of games. The only question that remains is if they can keep that level of performance consistent enough over a full 82 game season. But after a career spent in the American Hockey League with only an appetizer sized bite of the NHL, this is a player that could most certainly be a very important cog in the Islanders train as they continue their rebirth into relevancy.

The recommendation of the faculty here at Eyes is that McDonald deserved what he was afforded this season and should remain with the big club. At the expiration of his current contract in 2015 there is no reason to believe that Snow will allow him to test free agency. At a VERY minimum, he provides excellent organizational depth, even more so on a two way contract.

What are your thoughts on Colin’s season? Does he deserve to continue wearing the orange and blue?