A few weeks ago, I wrote a piece looking at dead line acquisition Andy McDonald's impact on the Flyers. I promised to update the numbers after a larger sample of games. So how has MacD done in his first 19 games as a Flyer?
Shot Attempt Differential
In 19 games been the worst defender relative to his team at controlling possession.
Scoring Chance Differential(Since the Deadline)
As possession drives scoring chances, we shouldn't be surprised to see the 3rd pairing continue to struggle with MacDonald.(Note: Gustafsson numbers are from all 27ish games he played)
What about Luke Schenn?
Many folks were quick to blame Luke Schenn for MacDonald's poor numbers. But Erik Gustafsson was a +16 in scoring chances in roughly 27 games with the very same Luke Schenn anchoring him down. We now have data on MacDonald going on 6 seasons of NHL action with a variety of team situations, defense partners, and on ice deployment. He's put up bad to ugly numbers in almost every one of them relative to his teammates.
Perhaps its time to stop finding excuses for MacDonald and start examining the player himself as part of the problem.
Diagnosing the Problem:
MacDonald, and the 3rd pair in general, allow far too many clean rushes through the neutral zone. Opponents are able to carry the puck into the Flyers d-zone with control and given the time and the space to create dangerous scoring chances. Tighter gap control and challenging opponents in the neutral zone and at the blue line would prevent clean carries and rush chances like this one...
No, the Flyers shouldn't resign MacDonald.
A larger sample of games hasn't been kind to MacD, and its abundantly clear that he isn't worth a potentially large UFA contract.