Apr 12, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Union Dutchmen defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere (14) celebrates after defeating the Minnesota Gophers in the championship game of the Frozen Four college ice hockey tournament at Wells Fargo Center. Union defeated Minnesota, 7-4 to win the NCAA Championship. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Fortifying Their Defenses: Flyers sign MacDonald to Extension, Gostisbehere to Entry-Level Contract

While the team was on the ice preparing for the New York Rangers, the Flyers front office was busy securing two major pieces to the future of the team’s defensive core. First, the Flyers announced the signing of Andrew MacDonald, whom the team acquired from the Islanders toward the trade deadline, to a six-year/$30 million extension. A few hours later, days after winning an NCAA National Championship, Union College defenseman and Flyers draft pick Shayne Gostisbehere signed his entry-level deal with the team and foregoing his senior season.

MacDonald, 27, and Gostisbehere, 20, figure to represent a substantial chunk of the Flyers future along the blue line figuring things go according to plan. The former New York Islander has taken on a substantial role since joining the Flyers. Alongside Luke Schenn as well as fellow former Islander Mark Streit on the team’s second power play unit, MacDonald has collected four assists and is a -3 in 19 games with the Orange and Black. He averages 22:59 on the ice a game and is the NHL’s leading shot-blocker, with 242 on the campaign. Though not a dynamic offensive presence, MacDonald’s ability to get in the way of shots to go along with his high-end skating ability have brought more mobility to a unit in desperate need of it. One has to figure, with the amount of time he has spent on the ice in the waning portions of the season, MacDonald will see as much, if not more with the playoffs set to get underway.

Gostisbehere was in Philadelphia this past weekend leading his Union team to its first-ever National Championship on ice hockey. He was named the Frozen Four’s Most Outstanding Player and his stat line from the National Championship game (goal, two assists, and +7) almost did not even do justice to how superior the Florida native was compared to the everyone else on the ice. He will join the Adirondack Phantoms for the remainder of the AHL season and then most-likely join the Flyers at practice until the end of their playoff run. Unfortunately, since Gostisbehere did not sign before the end of the NHL season, he will be unable to join the team in any competitive role this postseason. He will, however, get a taste of life as a professional if he can join the team, along with a few other Phantoms players, at practice. He will most likely have a chance to make the team at the start of next season.

The Hobey Baker finalist, who was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2012 Entry Draft, possesses a dazzling combination of skating ability, nimble hands, innate hockey IQ, and an ‘it’ factor that has been praised in hockey’s most esteemed circles. It will be very interesting to see how the Flyers bring along a truly unique talent like Gostisbehere.

Tags: Andrew Macdonald Luke Schenn Philadelphia Flyers Shayne Gostisbehere

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