Another day, another Islander rejecting a lucrative contract offer.
On Thursday, the New York Post reported defenseman Andrew MacDonald turned down the Isles’ four-year, $16 million offer, adding that the rejection has led to New York fielding offers for the 27-year-old rearguard.
The news comes in the same week pending UFA forward Tomas Vanek turned down a “substantial” offer from the Isles.
Here’s more on MacDonald, from the Post:
MacDonald and his agent had previously asked for a four- or five-year deal at $5 million per, and even got the Islanders to come up from their original starting price of $3.5 million per.
In turning down the offer, the pending unrestricted free agent has left himself as one of the league’s most highly coveted trade pieces, before both Friday’s 3 p.m. Olympic roster freeze and before the March 5 trade deadline.
A league source said general manager Garth Snow already has received at least one substantial trade offer, and has turned it down.
MacDonald is currently one of the NHL’s best bargains — in the final of a four-year, $2.2 million deal, a $550,000 cap hit — and leads all Isles defensemen in assists (20), points (24), time on ice per game (26:40) and blocked shots (185). He’s also been one of the club’s most durable players over the last three years and serves as an alternate captain.
One would think such production would be impossible for the Isles to lose, but it’s not that simple.
New York isn’t a spend-to-the-cap team, currently operating under the NHL’s second-lowest payroll, and the team’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.)
He could also be shipped at the deadline to a contender, where he’d have the chance to perhaps garner a bigger profile and play in the postseason.