- Katie Strang, ESPN.com
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Initial discussions between the New York Islanders and defenseman Andrew MacDonald’s camp about a contract extension for the impending unrestricted free agent have commenced, though the two sides have yet to enter into serious negotiations.
“I would describe the talks as ‘preliminary’,” MacDonald’s agent Peter Cooney told ESPNNewYork.com when reached by phone Tuesday morning.
New York Islanders
The 27-year-old MacDonald is leading the Islanders with 25:42 of ice time per game and is tops among defensemen in scoring with 3 goals and 22 points on the season. Playing out the last of a four-year, $2.2 million deal, regarded as one of the most cost-effective, budget-friendly contracts in the league right now, MacDonald is due a significant raise.
Exactly what sort of annual salary he is seeking is not immediately clear as Cooney politely declined to provide specifics and said he’d prefer not to “negotiate through the media.”
What he did say, however, is that MacDonald would like to remain with the club. “Our goal is to work things out and hopefully remain with the Islanders,” Cooney said.
MacDonald also confirmed to ESPNNewYork.com last month that his preference was to stay on with the organization that drafted him back in 2006 (6th round, 160th overall).
If the two sides are too far apart on a new deal, however, MacDonald could be an alluring target for playoff teams looking to upgrade on defense at the deadline. He handles top-pair minutes for the Islanders, an even heftier load with veteran Lubomir Visnovsky out with concussion. Visnovsky has not played since October 19.
It may be a tough call for general manager Garth Snow, whose decision may be further complicated by the fact that the team is currently on a run. The Isles play Florida Tuesday night seeking their fifth straight win. They are seven points back from the eighth-place Detroit Red Wings.
24dJohn Parolin, ESPN Stats & Information