Shayne Gostisbehere was once a prized defense prospect that had the world at his finger tips. After exploding onto the scene in 2015, scoring 17 goals during his rookie season, the once gifted offensive dynamo has seen his career come to a screeching halt during the 2019-20 season. There have been rumors of a possible trade for months now and plenty of reason to be both excited and cautious about them.
Ghost got exposed this season as a lackluster defenseman when his offense ran dry. He had the worst offensive season of his career, posting just five goals and 12 points through 42 games, dressing for only two contests since early January with a lingering knee injury. Now that Ghost has fallen down the depth chart, and the emergence of Phil Myers and Travis Sanheim, the Flyers really have no need for another high-risk, high-reward defenseman, who often leans towards the “risk” side.
Now that Gostisbehere is no longer a staple in the lineup, is it time to consider moving on from the formerly flashy defenseman? There are positives and negatives to a potential trade, as we went through them below.
1. There may still be some value in the name Shayne Gostisbehere. He does have a 17-goal season, as well as a 65-point season under his belt. A team lacking an offensive spark on the blueline may be willing to bite on Ghost for a reasonable price.
2. Gostisbehere is about to turn 27. He’s about to enter his prime at the absolute trough of his career. Not only that, but his results have been so wildly inconsistent that moving on from him to give the younger guys on the roster a bigger role could help the defense corps as a whole.
3. Dumping $4.5 million in cap space. When Gostisbehere signed his current contract in the summer of 2017, locking him up at $4.5 million a season for six years seemed like a steal. Then he posted a 65 point season and it was starting to look like one of the best value contracts in the NHL. Fast forward two more seasons and all of a sudden that contract isn’t as pretty as it was a few years ago. While it isn’t a “bad” contract even now, that $4.5 million could be used in better ways, especially as the cap becomes tighter as the younger players start coming off of their entry-level contracts.
1. The Flyers would lose a serviceable player on a semi-decent contract. As the Flyers defense corps continues to grow and develop, Ghost can take a backseat to other players. The Flyers are quite frankly lucky to have Shayne Gostisbehere as their sixth or seventh defenseman right now, and especially for playoff time, that could be an added benefit.
2. The biggest fear is trading him while his value and play are at rock bottom and he goes on to find his game elsewhere. It is the biggest reason against trading him. Getting less than market value for Ghost, then watch him flourish on another team would be a blemish on Chuck Fletcher’s rap sheet that the fanbase wouldn’t let him live down.
3. There isn’t a great alternate at the moment. Even though Ghost has undoubtedly fallen down the lineup, the Flyers defensive prospect pool is a tad shallow for the immediate future. Mark Friedman is their only player who can make the jump, and he has just seven games of experience under his belt, so relying on him may not be the best move. Reinforcements are on the way, however, as prospects Yegor Zamula and Wyatte Wylie are scheduled to make their pro debuts during the 2020-21 season, but may not see NHL ice time for a few more seasons.
The season paused at the worst possible time for Ghost, as he played his first game back, and looked pretty decent in the process. Would he have edged anybody out of the lineup? Who knows, but any sign of life of Gostisbehere is a step in the right direction given how lackluster he has been lately.
Are the Flyers going to deal Shayne Gostisbehere during the offseason? It’s hard to tell, really. One thing is for sure, the answer isn’t a hard no. If the phone rings, you know Chuck Fletcher is going to listen.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
Photo credit: nbcsports.com