When Colin McDonald became a free agent in July 2012, he wasn’t quite sure where his career was headed. Nine years after being drafted in the second round, 51st overall, by the Edmonton Oilers, McDonald had only played in seven NHL games, while amassing 374 games in the American Hockey League.
Now 24 games into his Islanders career, McDonald’s hard work has finally paid off, as he’s been rewarded with a two-year, one-way contract extension.
“I just think this is the right situation for me,” McDonald said. “From everything the organization told me last summer as far as the opportunity I would get and what they expected from me, they’ve followed through with everything.”
The 6’1, 210-lb forward was asked to bring energy to the squad. Through the first half of the season, McDonald has tallied four goals and six assists, while finding a niche on a line with Matt Martin and Casey Cizikas.
“My line takes pride in being those guys that will play physical and will get pucks in,” McDonald said. “Whether we play eight minutes or 12 minutes, the coaches and our teammates know they’re going to get everything we have for each shift.”
With the lockout delaying the start of the NHL season until January, McDonald was on full-display for the Islanders coaching staff for 35 games with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. It only took two months in Bridgeport for the Wethersfield, CT, native to be named team captain.
“Colin brings energy and physicality every night,” Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano said. “His line plays within our framework and has been able to chip in offensively as well.”
To get some sense of security is a nice change of pace for me. I know where I’m going to be. - Colin McDonald
McDonald started his professional career with the Springfield Falcons of the AHL in 2007 after four years at Providence College. He sees the extension as the beginning of a new chapter in his career.
“Now this is just the start to try and make a name for myself in this league,” McDonald said. “I hope I can be in this organization for more than just two years.”
He continued, “to get some sense of security is a nice change of pace for me. I know where I’m going to be. I know the city. I’m getting to know the fans and obviously I know the guys and coaches. When you have relationships with people, you don’t want to leave good people and that’s what I would have been doing if I decided to not take this deal and to wait around until July 1st.”
His NHL future now secure, the 28-year old is ready to help the Islanders during the playoff push.