Blocking shots can be one of the toughest and most painful things a hockey player can do. Andrew MacDonald learned that the hard way. While on a penalty kill, MacDonald stood in front of a Mark Letestu slap shot and took it off the knee. Hobbling on one leg, he was able to stay in the play and help clear the puck. It played a key role in the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday.
“You’ve just got to get up. If you don’t get up, it’s a 5-on-3. There are other opportunities that can arise from it. Do your best and try to hang in there. Wait for some help. Wait until you clear it. It is what it is. Everyone battles through it. You take a shot. You just get up, get back in there and help your guys,” MacDonald said after the win.
The Flyers announced today that MacDonald would miss about a month after blocking that shot. This leaves the Flyers with six defensemen on the roster. The team has not made a corresponding move as of yet.
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) October 22, 2017
Andrew MacDonald Out 4-6 Weeks
MacDonald has spent the season on the top pairing with Ivan Provorov and averaged the third most ice time per-game. With him now out of the lineup, the Flyers have a few decisions to make. Brandon Manning was a healthy scratch in the last game and could check back into the lineup. The team may also look towards the Lehigh Valley Phantoms for a replacement.
If the team goes the AHL route, it is likely that Samuel Morin will return to the Flyers. Morin had made the team out of camp, but only because the team carried eight blue-liners to start. He was sent down after the team returned from their season-opening road trip.
In five games with the Phantoms, Morin has a goal and three assists. Morin’s ability to take time on the penalty kill works in his favor. However, the Phantoms also have their own injury troubles on defense. Philippe Myers and T.J. Brennan both missed the Phantoms last game with undisclosed injuries.
Another factor in the decision will be if the Flyers are willing to play three rookie defensemen. If they are looking for a seventh defensemen, Mark Alt may be another option the team looks at. The team has over $2M in cap space, allowing them the freedom to have a few options. Placing MacDonald on IR would also open a roster space.
The Flyers return to the ice on Tuesday when they welcome in the Anaheim Ducks. A decision will likely be made by then.
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