Florida Panthers Should Call-Up Defenseman Jacob MacDonald

If the Florida Panthers want to improve defensively, then they’re going to have to make some necessary changes. That first starts with calling up defenseman Jacob MacDonald.

It’s been a weird year for the Florida Panthers, and it’s also been a weird year for Jacob MacDonald. MacDonald, who is currently 25 years of age, is playing hockey in the minors for the Springfield Thunderbirds.

When he first arrived at the organization, things didn’t start this way. In fact, he actually started the season in the big leagues with the Panthers, playing in the season opener against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

To add more context behind this, MacDonald has worked incredibly hard to reach that point in his life, starting all the way down in the ECHL and working his way up as one of the league’s best defensemen over in the AHL.

But the big day finally came and young MacDonald had his family fly over to Tampa to come watch his first career NHL game.

To make matters even more special, MacDonald recorded his first career NHL goal on not only his first career NHL game and shot, but also while his family was in attendance.

That particular night, the Panthers played extremely well in both ends of the ice, giving Tampa Bay no space and time to virtually move or set up. On the other hand, they threw almost everything at Vasilevskiy, as the Russian netminder saw more rubber than Goodyear Tires.

Unfortunately, though, Tampa tied the game off a lucky break shorthanded, sending the game to overtime and taking the game in a shootout.

The result may not have been what the Panthers were hoping for after the tremendous play they displayed, but, if there’s almost a perfect game defensively that I can look upon on this dreadful season, it had to be this one where Jacob MacDonald played in.

That night, MacDonald (to me) was the best defenseman on the ice, showcasing his solid defensive abilities. Throughout the entire defensive core, their play in their own end was completely flawless.

Pucks were getting out the first time, the defense was meeting their guy at the line, versus letting them walk in and shoot. And, on top of that, the defense was limiting the number of scoring chances they were giving up to the Bolts.

But since then and after the second game against Columbus where the Panthers completely laid an egg, the Cats decided to send MacDonald down to the minors, where he would play for the Springfield Thunderbirds.

With the T-Birds this season, MacDonald has recorded an impressive slash line of 8G, 16A, for 24 points in 32 games. Like his previous stints in the AHL, MacDonald has always felt comfortable playing in the farm, able to produce on both ends of the ice.

While his play has continued to progress, the Panthers’ play has only plummeted as we speak. Defensively, they seem to be worse after every game and they’ve shown no signs of improvement.

A simple call-up would do wonders for both MacDonald and the team. Sure, MacDonald wouldn’t be able to single-handedly improve the Panthers’ defensive efforts, but he would bring some much-needed stability to at least a line.

MacDonald has proven time and time again why he deserves to not only play full-time professionally but why he should be playing full-time in the NHL.

At the end of the day, the Panthers lose nothing calling up defenseman Jacob MacDonald to see if he can at least bring any impact to an already fragile defense.

If anything, I would bet all my marbles that he would be a net positive on this team, serving as an alternative to what’s already up here.

In hindsight, though, if the Panthers are truly committed to improving defensively, then they would do what’s obvious and call Jacob MacDonald up to at least provide a shakeup to an already sinking ship.

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