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Flyers re-sign MacDonald, sign Gostisbehere

by Adam Kimelman

VOORHEES, N.J. -- The Philadelphia Flyers took care of their defense for the short term and long term Tuesday.

Veteran defenseman Andrew MacDonald signed a six-year contract extension, and 2012 third-round pick Shayne Gostisbehere signed an entry-level contract. Financial terms were not released, but multiple media reports placed the value of MacDonald's contract at $30 million.

MacDonald was acquired March 4 from the New York Islanders in a trade for a third-round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, a second-round pick in 2015, and minor-league forward Matt Mangene.

"We kind of hashed it out a couple different ways," MacDonald said. "Ended up finishing on six [years] and I felt like a good, long-term commitment was great for me and they agreed with it. Obviously it's a big commitment for them, a big commitment for me. It's a good deal."

Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said the fact MacDonald is 27 years old made the six-year length a palatable option.

"Because of his age we didn't mind six years," Holmgren said. "We talked about a lot of different scenarios, even longer than six years, but settled on six."

In 19 games with the Flyers, MacDonald had four assists and a minus-3 rating. For the season, he had four goals and 24 assists in 82 games, plus an NHL-high 242 blocked shots. His ice time shrunk with the trade -- he averaged 25:25 per game in 65 games with the Islanders and 21:59 per game with the Flyers -- but said less was beneficial.

"I think scaling back the minutes allowed me to be a little bit more efficient and effective out there," he said. "... Coming into a new situation you try to ease your way in and try to find your way. I think with the controlled minutes the first little bit it obviously helped me get acclimated, learn the systems and personnel. That's obviously important. I think it's really helped."

MacDonald sacrificed the chance to become an unrestricted free agent in July by signing now, but said the Flyers would have been on his list anyway.

"Before I got traded here I identified this as a place I'd like to look into if I did go to free agency," he said. "It's been great in that sense, got to check everything out before and was really happy with everything."

MacDonald soon will be sharing space with Gostisbehere, who will start his professional career by playing in two games with the Flyers' American Hockey League affiliate, the Adirondack Phantoms, on Friday and Saturday. After that, Holmgren said Gostisbehere will be part of the group of players who will practice with the Flyers during the playoffs. Gostisbehere is not eligible to play in the playoffs because he was signed after the regular season ended.

It will be Gostisbehere's second trip to Philadelphia this month. Last week, the 78th pick of the 2012 NHL Draft was named the Most Outstanding Player at the Frozen Four after helping Union College to the NCAA title. He had a goal, two assists and a plus-7 rating in the championship game against the University of Minnesota.

Holmgren said he could envision Gostisbehere, 20, playing for the Flyers as soon as next season.

"He's an exciting young player in the way he plays the game," Holmgren said. "It's going to be a big summer for him to continue to get stronger and prepare himself for the rigors of an [NHL] schedule."

Gostisbehere is listed at 5-foot-11 and 160 pounds; Union had him weighing 170. Holmgren said Gostisbehere could stand to add some muscle but it has to be done carefully.

"I'm not sure how much he's going to weigh at the end of the day," Holmgren said. "You don't want to weigh down your Ferrari."

Gostisbehere said he's looking forward to starting his professional career and taking the next step toward achieving his goal of playing in the NHL.

"It’s just a dream come true to skate with the Flyers, just be around those guys and see what they do and learn how to be a professional," he said.


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