Andrew MacDonald #47 of the New York Islanders carries the puck against the Phoenix Coyotes at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on October 8, 2013 in Uniondale, New York.
(October 7, 2013 - Source: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images North America)

How big a raise can the Isles give Andrew MacDonald?


According to ESPN New York, “preliminary” negotiations are underway between the New York Islanders and defenseman Andrew MacDonald.

Which begs the question: How much more is MacDonald going to get paid?

One of the NHL’s best bargains — four years at $2.2 million, a $550,000 cap hit — MacDonald leads all Isles defensemen in assists (19), points (22), time on ice per game (25:43) and blocked shots (159).  He’s been one of the club’s most durable players over the last three years and serves as an alternate captain.

So, simply put, he’s in line for a big raise.

Of course, things aren’t that simple.

The Isles aren’t a spend-to-the-cap team, currently operating under the NHL’s second-lowest payroll, and New York’s history of retaining UFA blueliners doesn’t shed much insight — last year they re-upped with Lubomir Visnovsky, but cut ties with Mark Streit.

What’s more, the club has a slew of young defensemen — Travis Hamonic, Aaron Ness, Calvin de Haan, Matt Donovan — and some really talented blueliners on the way in Griffin Reinhart, Ryan Pulock, Scott Mayfield, Ville Pokka and Adam Pelech.

(The Isles, lest we forget, drafted seven defensemen in 2012.)

From McDonald’s perspective, he wields a pretty big stick. The prospect of a 27-year-old UFA defenseman with his resume hitting the open market is tantalizing, especially in a year where the cap will rise (to a projected $71.1 million.)

So maybe the above question needs a new spin. The query might not be how much Andrew MacDonald is going to get paid  — it might be which club will show him the money.

Memorial Cup champion goalie Appleby signs with Devils

Ken Appleby
The Canadian Press via AP
Leave a comment

Ken Appleby never got drafted, but his efforts during the New Jersey Devils’ training camp have earned him an entry-level contract, per the Bergen Record.

Although no team saw it fit to take him before the preseason, the 20-year-old is coming off of a very strong season. He had a 2.08 GAA and .924 save percentage in 50 games with the OHL’s Oshawa Generals. He went on to lead them to a Memorial Cup championship and earned the the Hap Emms Memorial Trophy as the tournament’s top goalie.

Appleby is the fifth goaltender the Devils have under contract after Cory Schneider, Keith Kinkaid, Scott Wedgewood, and Yann Danis. He’ll likely begin the season in the ECHL.

Alexandre Goulet and Jacob Sweeney also participated in the Devils’ training camp on an amateur tryout basis, but both of them have been released.

PHT Morning Skate: NHL stars weigh in on McDavid

Connor McDavid
The Canadian Press via AP
Leave a comment

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Some of the NHL’s top players discuss Connor McDavid‘s potential and the hype surrounding him. (Toronto Sun)

While we’re on the subject, Wayne Gretzky recalls what it was like for him going into the NHL and what’s in store for McDavid. (Edmonton Sun)

Sam Gagner is about to start a key season in his career. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

It’s time for the Washington Capitals to make some tough calls, particularly when it comes to Derek Roy. (CSN Mid-Atlantic)

With Raffi Torres hearing scheduled for today, here’s a look back at his suspension history. (San Jose Mercury News)

The Chicago Blackhawks have gotten their championship rings. (