There is one player that has emerged from the shadows in what has been a difficult stretch of the Binghamton Devils’ first season and also has been labeled as the “Binghamton Bomber” in a recent New Jersey game broadcasted on MSG, and that is 24 year-old defenseman Jacob MacDonald.
#23 has been a consistent contributor for the BDevils with his 10 goals and 12 assists while being a beast quarterbacking the top power play unit on an otherwise offensively challenged group of players so far in this, the first of my profiles series as we begin on what has transpired for the budding prospect.
A Look Back
Following the conclusion of his four year collegiate career at Cornell University, the native out of Brighton, MI, USA first came onto the pro scene signing with the Elmira Jackals of the ECHL on a PTO and after eight games, recorded one goal and two assists.
MacDonald rejoined the Jackals in 2015-’16 and was fourth overall in the league and first amongst defensemen with 17 goals, 20 assists after 72 games, while being named to the ECHL All-Rookie Team.
At 6’0”, 208 lbs he split time last season between the Albany Devils and Toledo Walleye of the ECHL recording 8 goals and 16 assists in 34 contests, and 7 goals, 19 helpers in 30 games, respectively.
Leading Point Producer
In his second full season, the undrafted MacDonald and his 22 points are tops for the Binghamton Devils with Nick Lappin right behind him with 18 (12g, 6a). The left-handed shooter wields a booming slap shot, evidence including this one-timer from the point in Providence last Saturday;
MacDonald can be associated with the team’s recent success on the power play as he is currently tied for fifth place with defenseman Andy Welinski for 5 power play goals, and 3rd in power play points amongst D-man at 12 on a club that is ranked fifth in the league at 19.8%.
MacDonald’s other attributes amongst defensemen in the AHL reads as follows;
- Top goal producer with 10
- 2nd in points behind (23) Laval’s Matt Taormina
- 4th in shots with 64
- Tied for 2nd with 2 GWG with several others
There was also this gem from Wednesday night’s overtime win with MacDonald and the game winner in Laval;
Q: Who leads all AHL defensemen with 10 goals this season?— AHL (@TheAHL) December 7, 2017
While his offense abilities have taken notice, MacDonald is still considered a liability at times, especially under pressure with some costly turnovers in his defensive zone coverage only to be bailed out by his netminder(s). I believe there’s room for improvement with a full season under way in the AHL to help further along his development without rushing him, something that has been witnessed too often when the Senators were in town over the years.
In my First Quarter Grades Report MacDonald was ranked second on the defense with an average score of 85.33, percentage points behind Josh Jacobs with an 86.
This kid went from PTO/lineup plug to prospect in less than a year. Good to see Jacob still doing so well. https://t.co/pzIz4P0AC0— Tracey Lake (@trace_1114) December 7, 2017
If early reports are asking if he’s ready for the big leagues, as I would say no, he is not. However, let’s see how this plays out for the rest of the season and evaluate his progress at a later date. Again, there’s no need to rush prospects, especially defenseman.
A Look Ahead
One of the players that continues to work hard and not whine about missing some action in the NHL, as positions are tough to find currently on a rich and highly talented NJ team.
MacDonald was signed as a free agent back in Mar of 2017 for a two year AHL contract and now appears to be a bargain. However, look for that to change in his break-out season for the BDevils. If the Big Club can restructure his contract to a two-way deal, they should act accordingly before another organization can possibly make a move to swoop him up despite the current logjam of depth and filler up top in New Jersey.
Meanwhile, I can only look forward to MacDonald and his playing time on the blueline in Binghamton as one of the bright spots of the season so far.