Bruins not looking to trade 1st rounder for MacDonald

Bruins not looking to trade 1st rounder for MacDonald
February 26, 2014, 3:15 pm
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With the NHL trade deadline exactly a week away, it’s become the funny season for rumors, whispers, innuendo and the “word on the street” to fuel potential deals between hockey clubs. Big names like Ryan Miller, Ryan Callahan and Matt Moulson are the names most often coming up in conversation, but on the second tier is New York Islanders defenseman Andrew MacDonald.

It appeared MacDonald would be dealt after the Olympic break once the player and Isles GM Garth Snow couldn’t come to an agreement on contact extension terms. The left-shot defenseman is currently making just $550,000 this season and is an unrestricted free agent following this season, and he’s been excellent for the Isles while putting up 4 goals and 24 points in 60 games. The 27-year-old has averaged 25 plus minutes of ice time per game this season, and has shown he’s rugged while leading the NHL in blocked shots this season.

A hockey source confirmed to CSNNE.com that the Bruins indeed have some level of interest in MacDonald while looking for a veteran defenseman replacement capable of providing the shot-blocking and stalwart defense missing since the Dennis Seidenberg knee injury.

New York Times writer Chris Botta reported on Twitter that the Isles are looking for a first round pick as part of the return package for MacDonald, who is a strict rental player given his contract situation. That’s consistent with the high prices for rentals prior to the March 5 trade deadline, but those kinds of demands mean that MacDonald won’t be getting traded to Boston anytime soon.

The Bruins have zero desire to trade a first round pick for what’s currently available on the trade market, a source told CSNNE.com.

Top prospects like Ryan Spooner, Zach Trotman and rookie defenseman Matt Bartkowski also won’t be traded, particularly for a rental defenseman that could walk after playing 30-40 games for Boston this spring. It’s more likely that a group of B’s prospects including Alex Khokhlachev, Jordan Caron and David Warsofsky are in play during trade discussions, and Boston would be willing to talk trade with other picks aside from their first.

Specific to MacDonald, there’s also a concern that the Islanders defenseman isn’t much more than a fifth defenseman on a Cup-caliber team like the Bruins, and that he doesn’t play much bigger than his 6-foot, 180-pound frame. Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli is more looking for a big-bodied, physical defenseman capable of winning battles in the D-zone a la Seidenberg, and there’s real question as to whether MacDonald is an upgrade over Bartkowski on the left side.

“Bart has been in [our] top four and he’s been playing well,” said Chiarelli, just prior to the Olympic break. “It’s a bit of supply and demand, so I don’t really…the names that I am thinking about and talking about, maybe two or three of them can play in the top four. The rest of them would maybe shuttle in and out, and play down a little bit.

“[Bartkowski] is learning, he’s learning better how to defend, and he’s getting a few more minutes.

“He’s still making mistakes, but the rest of them are too. I’ve been looking closely at his defending. He certainly can wheel the puck out well and turn the net well, but he’s maturing as a defender. That’s what we’re looking for, better defenders.”

MacDonald may or may not be a better defender for the Bruins, but he won’t be coming to Boston if the price tag includes a first round pick.