’s offensive talents are not a fluke.
The forward had a breakout season with Oklahoma City of the American Hockey League last year after posting 42 goals and 58 points in 80 games and earning a berth in the AHL All-Star Game.
McDonald signed with the Penguins organization over the summer and he’s continued to build on his offensive abilities. He’s the leading scorer for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton with 28 points (8G-20A) and a plus-17 rating in 32 games.
Though McDonald’s goals aren’t approaching the 42 he scored last year, his assists have sky rocketed as he develops into a complete scoring threat on the ice and better all-around player.
“I’ve always believed in my ability to score, but that’s not my focus,” McDonald said. “I try to be complete all around player. I just want to validate that.”
Validation came by way of the AHL, which named him, and teammate Simon Despres
, to the Eastern Conference Team for the 2012 American Hockey League All-Star Classic Jan. 29-30 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J., his second consecutive All-Star appearance.
“It’s always exciting. I appreciate it even more because of the path that I’ve taken and developed into the player that I am over the last two years,” McDonald said. “To be named to the All-Star Team again in back-to-back years makes it extra special.”
McDonald wasn’t originally scouted as a scoring threat in the NHL. Instead, the Edmonton Oilers, the club the originally drafted him 51st overall in 2003, placed him more in a role player spot while developing him in the AHL.
“I was mainly a third- or fourth-line guy with no power play time,” he said. “I was in that role until my breakout last year. I’m glad to prove last year wasn’t a fluke.”
McDonald attributes much of his success and development to the Penguins organization, and hopes one day to break through to hockey’s highest level.
“The longer that I’m here, the happier I am with the decision to sign with Pittsburgh,” he said. “I’ve learned more with Pittsburgh and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton than in any year playing pro with the way they teach. With no disrespect to the coaches I’ve had before, but I wish I started here.
“While I’m here I’m working toward my goal, playing in the NHL.”