Going into the off-season, there were a few things that the Philadelphia Flyers needed to do. Re-signing Shayne Gostisbehere was a big off-season goal. The team announced this afternoon that they have signed the defenseman to a six year, $27 million contract. He is expected to be protected in the upcoming expansion draft.
Shayne Gostisbehere Signs Six-Year Deal
Gostisbehere was drafted by the Flyers in the third round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. He took the NHL by storm when he was called up during the 2015-16 season. In 64 games, he had 17 goals and 29 assists. These stats helped him finish second in Calder Trophy voting.
When Mark Streit went down with a lower body injury in November of that season, the Flyers turned to Gostisbehere for help. He was expected to take over number one power play duties. So Gostisbehere jumped into the role and took off with it.
“When he came in, the first power play was basically there for him because of Mark’s injury,” GM Ron Hextall said. “He took advantage of it and he’s done a good job. Things have gone well for him. There’s no doubt about it. He’s helped us as a team. No doubt.”
It was early in the season when Gostisbehere came up. The Flyers were sitting a 5-8-3. Things turned around after that. The puck carrying abilities that he possessed gave forwards more freedom knowing that they had Gostisbehere behind them. It forced other teams to pay special attention to him.
“He demands defensive attention when he has the puck, so that creates a little more room for everyone else,” said Simmonds. “That’s what a puck-moving D-man can give a team offensively. It just makes it harder for the other D to focus in on the forwards.”
Before all of this happened, Gostisbehere suffered a devastating injury in his second game with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. He tore the ACL in his left knee and was out for the season. Gostisbehere game was speed and finesse, but this injury had been a huge threat to that.
“It was scary at first,” Gostisbehere said. “I’ve never really been injured in my career. When you hear your ACL is torn … it’s not the news you want to hear, especially (during) your first year (as a) pro.”
Gostisbehere didn’t give up. He trained four hours a day, six days a week to get back to where he was. It was a sometimes frustrating rehab process that required a lot of patience. After just two weeks he had been off crutches. Two weeks later he was skating again.
After months of recovery, Gostisbehere came into Flyers training camp healthy. He did spent some time with the Phantoms during the beginning of that season. But as a result of his hard work, with some chance involved, he was able to make the NHL squad for good.
His sophomore season was a different story, however. The struggles were clear from beginning to end. He finished with 7 goals and 32 assists in 76 games. His 39 points did lead all Flyers defensemen for the second straight season. Gostisbehere finished fourth among all NHL defensemen with 21 power play assists and seventh in power play scoring.
There was a lot more evidence that things weren’t going well, however. It seemed as if opponents had figured out how to play against Gostisbehere. Since opponents had experienced his style of play the season before, they found ways to shut him down.
Because of this Gostisbehere spent some time as a healthy scratch this past season. Head coach Dave Hakstol coined this as a learning tool for the young defenseman.
Things did get better towards the end of the season. There were signs of the Gostisbehere that fans had seen in his rookie season. In his final eight games, he averaged a point-per-game pace with one goal and seven assists.
All signs points to Gostisbehere bouncing back from a tough year as the Flyers continue to transition. And he is expected to be a big part of the future.