Throughout the next month plus, we’ll be reviewing the season that was and over-analyzing the various players that contributed to it. That’s what the offseason is for, after all. This post is part of a series. Read them all here.
7-10-17 in 45 games
Most often seen: being a solid, bottom-six contributor
Contract status: signed through 2014-15, $700k salary in 2012-13 ($700k cap hit)
Obligatory YouTube video of: his hit of the week
Thoughts on 2012-13: Last summer the Islanders signed McDonald, who at the time appeared to be a career minor-leaguer that had bounced around to a few different organizations. 27 at the time, McDonald only had seven NHL games under his belt split between Edmonton and Pittsburgh.
When the Islanders decided not to call up youth for training camp, McDonald, who had been captaining Bridgeport, was called up as a surprise to most of us and given a starting role in the team’s bottom six. He would be another in a long line of Islanders who didn’t get an opportunity elsewhere but would be asked to play significant minutes on LI.
McDonald’s worth wasn’t apparent at first, but over the course of the season he emerged as a bottom six grinder who chipped in 7 goals and 17 points in 45 games. Towards the middle of the season, he helped spark the team as they were going through a lull with the help of Casey Cizikas and Matt Martin, giving the team a serious physical, energy line. McDonald was promptly rewarded with a two-year contract extension in mid-March.
In the playoffs, he even chipped in two goals against the team that let him walk. His goal early in the second period of Game Two helped spark the Islanders to come from behind from a 3-1 deficit.
For what he is, McDonald performed well for the Islanders and earns some bonus points for an inspired playoff performance. He finished second on the team in hits behind Martin and, while not a scorer, fills an important role on the team. Alongside Cizikas and Martin, the Islanders have an energy line that can hit and chip in offensively on occasion, a far cry from the Niederreiter-Pandolfo-Reasoner disaster of a season ago.
Add your thoughts and post-season grades in the comments.