The announcement comes just one week prior to the opening of training camp. MacDonald scored 6 goals and collected 15 assists last season, averaging 19:51 minutes of ice time in 66 games. He served as an alternate captain, being voted the honor by his teammates.
MacDonald being out will likely be seen as a bigger issue to the coaching staff than the fanbase. MacDonald was basically the same player he’s always been-buried by shot metrics, but beloved by the coaching staff-and his injury opens opportunities in a few different ways.
First, a young defender like Phillippe Myers may have a better shot to claim an opening night job and get a longer look than he otherwise would have. Also, MacDonald being out allows Travis Sanheim and Robert Hagg more opportunity to cement themselves as core pieces of the Flyers top six defensemen. Of course, they could simply give a bigger role to free agent addition Christian Folin, which would be peak Flyers.
The Flyers will probably miss the off ice aspects of MacDonald. By all accounts he’s a really great guy and is obviously well liked and respected in the room. There’s no questioning his effort level and dedication. That said, it’s hard not to be excited at the possibility of an opening for some of the acclaimed Flyers defense prospects getting a chance to showcase their skills.