When Andrew MacDonald was waived by the Flyers before the season, I made a joke about how the Phantoms' Calder Cup hopes had been dashed by his addition to the lineup.
That was an obvious joke, though. MacDonald -- while overpaid and not very good at the NHL level -- is certainly a quality AHL player right? Even if he had a bad contract in the NHL, the skills that got him such a contract mean that he'll absolutely crush AHL competition. That's obvious.
Or, maybe not?
Look at MacDonald's play on this goal by Providence Bruins forward Seth Griffith on Saturday night. but not without this horrific play by MacDonald on a Bruins goal:
That's obviously a slick toe drag and a great finish by Griffith to score here, but there's no way that MacDonald should allow that. The gap control up at the blue line was terrible too, although we all know that's one of AMac's weaknesses anyhow.
Just bad hockey by Andrew MacDonald, and this is in the American Hockey League. Six years, $30 million.
Could AMac be a healthy scratch in the AHL soon?
MacDonald has played in five of the Phantoms' six games this season so far, and the one game he missed was due to an injury. But is it possible that MacDonald sees the bench as a healthy scratch before long? Consider...
The AHL has a rule where only five veteran players can suit up for a team in a game. Veterans are defined as those who have played 260 games in the NHL, AHL or top European leagues. AHL teams can also dress one "tweener" veteran; a player who has played between 260 and 320 games in those leagues.
Phantoms vets include defensemen MacDonald and Matt Lashoff. Up front the vets are Jay Rosehill, Chris Conner, Tim Brent, Aaron Palushaj and Colin McDonald. Defenseman Davis Drewiske entered the season with 284 games played in the AHL and NHL, so he's in the tweener category and doesn't hit the veteran limit each game.
That's the long way of saying that two of those veteran players need to be scratched very game. Colin McDonald is injured and has only played one game this season, so until he comes back only one of the other guys needs to be scratched. So far it's been either Jay Rosehill or Matt Lashoff each game, but AMac had an interesting night Friday.
Expected #LVPhantoms defense pairings (one scratch needed): Gostisbehere-Lashoff Drewiske-Alt Morin-Pettersson/MacDonald— Tony Androckitis (@TonyAndrock_TCG) October 23, 2015
It makes sense why Andrew MacDonald was rotating on the 3rd pairing. He's a veteran scratch due to Phantoms having too many in the lineup.— Tony Androckitis (@TonyAndrock_TCG) October 23, 2015
Sheet handed to me lists Rosehill as scratch. And A. MacDonald in lineup. Might have 11 F and 7 D tonight. Need to see when team takes ice.— Bob Rotruck (@BobRotruck) October 23, 2015
Per #AHL box score, Jay Rosehill was a late scratch for Lehigh Valley and Andrew MacDonald is in. Rosehill the vet scratch. 11F/7D for LV.— Tony Androckitis (@TonyAndrock_TCG) October 23, 2015
That's right: MacDonald was almost a healthy scratch.
It's of course important to note that he ultimately wasn't a scratch, but Tony Androckitis reported that he was the seventh defenseman in the lineup. So that sure is something. It's been an interesting couple of weeks in the minor leagues for the AHL's highest-paid player.