Yes, you read that right. Andrew MacDonald’s career with the Flyers has come to an end. The team announced on Saturday that he will be placed on irrevocable waivers and then bought out assuming he clears. 

Necessary Pill to Swallow

General Manager Chuck Fletcher made the move that was a long time coming, just one day after trading away Radko Gudas. MacDonald was set to enter the last year of a 6 year, $30M deal. The contract, signed in 2014 under former general manager and now president Paul Holmgren, had become one of the biggest albatrosses in hockey

MacDonald was a respected veteran by players on the team, evidenced by being given the position of Alternate Captain. But, MacDonald’s play on the ice never justified his lofty contract. After being acquired from the New York Islanders in the 2013-2014 season, MacDonald registered just 72 points in 291 total games as a Flyer. He even spent some time in Lehigh Valley with the Phantoms and other times was a healthy scratch with the Flyers. 

All About that Cap

MacDonald was set to count for $5M against the salary cap in the 2019-2020 season. That would’ve been the fourth highest on the team behind Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, and James Van Riemsdyk and accounted for a little over nine percent of the salary cap. The Flyers will now save $3.83M in cap space this season but will still be on the hook for $1.17M and $1.92M in 2020-2021.

Now What?

Clearly, Chuck Fletcher is not done re-shaping the Flyers roster. As of right now, the Flyers have $33M in cap space for next season. That will of course decline after negotiating contracts with their own restricted free agents, chiefly Ivan Provorov and Travis Konecny. It also allows them more flexibility in their attempts to to more retain recently traded for free agent Kevin Hayes. 

Or, maybe Ol’Chucky has a few tricks up his sleeve. There are some big name free agents that could certainly help the Flyers, although they are at this moment not favored to acquire any of them. Erik Karlsson would bring the bonafide number one defenseman this team has been lacking since the days of Chris Pronger. Artemi Panarin and Matt Duchene would provide great sparks for the Flyers offense that needs balanced lines. 

Maybe the Flyers get really weird and take a crack at the restricted free agent market. No RFA has signed an offer sheet since 2013, and no team has accepted the compensation instead of matching the offer since 2007. But, Mitch Marner would be an enormous acquisition that would generate a lot of buzz. The 22-year-old winger is fresh off of a 94 point season with the Toronto Maple Leafs and has 224 career points with 67 goals over his first three seasons in the NHL.

It has been rumored that Marner could be in line to receive a $10M a season offer from the Leafs. That would be a bit difficult for the Flyers to top, but not completely out of the question. If the Flyers were to trade Voracek, they would free up to another $7M in cap space. Acquiring Marner would be an extreme long-shot, but the possibility is there if the Flyers want to try it.