Our friend Greg Warren (@GDubs10) was able to catch the Adirondack Phantoms' last game of the season in Hershey last Saturday and was awesome enough to send us a scouting report of recently signed defensive prospect Shayne Gostisbehere in his second proffesional game:
• 21 years old
• listed at 5’11 170 lbs
• played on the first pairing along with Brandon Manning
• Wore his number at Union, #14
• Wears very little shoulder pads, looked extremely skinny on the ice
Physicality: Shayne’s goal out there on the ice is to not touch anyone, or at least that’s the way it looked in this game. He did not initiate contact with anyone the entire game. This hurt him on the Bear’s first goal. The play started when Ghost pinched in, tipped the puck but the bears kept possession. He then skated back and caught the guy as he dumped it into the corner. Ghost could have beaten his man to the puck, but instead backed off and went in after his guy with his stick. The Bear’s player threw the puck around the boards behind the net to the other wing, who threw it backdoor on the give and go. Shayne got beat out of the corner and could not tie up his man or his stick and let in a backdoor tap in goal. Also, I didn’t see any shot blocks or shot block attempts. These could also be taken as positives relative to injury concerns at his size. 3/10
Skating: Ghost is still the best skater on the ice at the AHL level. His stops and starts looked as electric as they did on TV during the frozen four. There was multiple times which he skated his way out of trouble instead of forcing a breakout pass. He likes to use the front of his own net as a tool to break the puck out, as that is normally a soft spot in the fore-check. People sometimes use the cliché skating circles around people, but Gostisbehere literally does that when regrouping in the neural zone. His skating is sharp and fast enough to lose an oncoming player with a couple quick turns. 10/10
Stick: He has the most effective stick check I’ve seen outside the NHL. Just like at Union, whenever he steps up he seems to break up the play. Whenever someone skates the puck up his side, he jumps right up and deflects the puck before the guy even knows what hit him. His stick is definitely the best part of his defensive game. 10/10
Positioning: Shayne had very aggressive positioning during the latter stages of this game. Was a little tentative in the first period, presumably still adapting to the AHL. He had a great read and interception of a cross-ice pass late in the game that led to a scoring chance. Likes to step up all of the time in the neutral zone, but has the speed to recover if it doesn’t work. He uses his skating to get to loose pucks first and skate it right out of the zone very well. 8/10
Shot: Ghost’s shot is another strength in his game. Has a very good ability to get shots through to the net and a howitzer for a slapshot. In this game, he was credited with 3 shots on goal (second only to Kevin Goumas the team’s recent signing out of UNH). The Phantoms had a 5-3 power play in the second period, and Ghost was playing the right circle (opposite of G on the Flyers power-play), and was hungry for a goal. The point defensemen fed him a rolling puck for a one timer and Shayne made great contact and sent it labeled for the top right corner of the net. The goalie made a Sportscenter top 10 worthy save to keep the puck out and Ghost off of the score sheet. Other than that, his snapshots got through to the net and caused rebounds. 8/10
Passing: Every pass was smart, smooth, and natural in this game. There was nothing of note, which is a positive for defensemen. 7/10
Offensive instincts: Great. Shayne seems very natural with the puck in the offensive zone. Pinched very effectively, and used his skating to get many offensive chances for himself and his teammates. He used fake shots often to get the shot-blocker out of position, then skates around him down the boards. From there he likes to either shoot low for rebounds, pass to the slot, or skate behind the net. In this game, he mostly tried to get behind the net and either get the wraparound goal or pass to the wing in the crease. He was very close on two wraparound attempts in this game. 8/10
Overall, Shayne Gostisbehere was the Phantoms best player offensively in this game. He created chances almost every time he was on the ice and logged top pairing minutes in just his second AHL game. He needs to get a bit stronger this offseason so he can use his body in the d-zone when necessary. He was the most skilled player on the ice and a treat to watch live.
Also, I can see a Gostisbehere- Hagg pairing on the Flyers for many years. Robert Hagg (2013 2nd round pick) is the complete opposite of Ghost. He makes the safe, smart play every time and the most polished d-man on the Phantoms. You can definitely tell he played pro hockey in Sweden the last 2 years. Look for both to challenge for the Flyer’s top 6 next season assuming Timonen retires and the possible departure of Grossmann.
Tickets for Game 4 against the Rangers start at $163.