1-6-2. That was the Philadelphia Flyers record in their previous nine games before Shayne Gostisbehere was called up from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Nov. 14. They are 8-4-3 since the 22-year-old entered the lineup.
To say the Frozen Four standout has bolstered the Flyers’ defense corpse would be an understatement. Shayne Gostisbehere has been a revelation in Philadelphia.
The 2013 third-round draft pick has scored six times and added five assists in 11 games, adding a much-needed offensive element to the Flyers’ blueline.
The speedy rearguard is turning heads with his fantastic skating and dynamic offensive instincts. He never shies away from doing the rush and has delivered in the clutch with three overtime-winning goals — tied with Calgary Flames’ forward Johnny Gaudreau for tops in the entire NHL.
When we look at Gostisbehere, the immediate thing that stands out is his skating ability. Not only is he ridiculously fast, but he can cut corners and pivot so smoothly that it alludes opponents and leaves them behind while he darts the other direction.
Using his speed and terrific vision, Gostisbehere can lead an offensive rush from his own end flawlessly. He reads the play extremely well and is always aware of what’s in front of him. Hockey plays at a ridiculously fast speed, so when you carry the puck up-ice, you have to make a series of split-second decisions to avoid turning the puck over and ensuring you create the best potential offensive opportunity.
Gostisbehere can no only burn you with his speed, but also with his ability to change direction and pivot at breakneck pace.
He’s had several fantastic breakouts this season where he’s used a spin-o-rama to allude an opposing defender, before he darts up ice. That’s something you don’t expect. And that’s why it works. Gostisbehere is fearless and that’s a quality that many players, especially of the younger variety, simply don’t have.
When you’re making plays like that, your constantly leaving your opponent guessing. Gostisbehere’s spin-o-ramas started in his college days with Union and nothing’s changed. His phenomenal skating allows him to pivot off players and quickly change directions. That ability to start a rush from a defenseman is something we all take for granted. Instead of always making that easy first push, Gositsbhere has the ability to use his skating to burn defenders and take the puck up ice.
When we think skating in hockey, we think speed. Ghost has that and much more. He’s so quick and nifty on his feet that in seconds, he can leave you behind. That ability to quickly change speed and/or direction is what makes him so special. When you have someone on the blueline who is so mobile and can walk the line, it’s immeasurable the impact that can have.
Here he uses a quick fake to turn a defenseman, before darting to the middle of the ice and getting a shot through.
The ability to fake out an opponent and go is so impressive because it buys him so much time and space to work with. It’s one thing to fake out an opponent, but to do it at the speed he does it at, it’s simply remarkable.
Gostisbehere has scored six goals this season. Every single one of them has given the Flyers the lead. That’s called delivering in the clutch. It shows he’s not afraid to take risks when it matters the most. He’s got just 17 career NHL games under his belt, but he’s rushing up the ice in 3-on-3 OT like a seasoned veteran.
Gostisbehere has an absolute lethal shot and combined with his skating ability, he’s a huge threat in all types of situations.
His terrific skating and tremendous offensive instincts make him very dangerous in 3 on-3 OT. He’s scored almost identical overtime goals from Claude Giroux. Watch as he makes the original pass to Giroux before coming down from the blueline. It’s his sneaky smooth transition that enables him to cross to the middle of the ice and receive the pass from the captain.
Gostibehere is so sneaky as he creeps in without anybody covering him and makes himself open. That’s his hockey awareness on full display and he sense the two Nashville players are committed to Giroux and their priority is to not let the pass get through. Gostisbehere reads that and gets himself into an open spot to receive the puck.
His absolue laser for a shot has helped him score four power-play goals in just 15 games this season. Justin Faulk and Shea Weber are the only defensmen in the NHL with more. His wicked shot, combined with his quickness and mobility, makes him a lethal power-play quaterback. With Gostisbehere, Giroux, Jakub Voracek and Wayne Simmonds on the ice for the power play, the Flyers are set. There aren’t many teams in the NHL who can put out a better combination of players.
So smile if your a Philadelphia Flyers fan, because at just 22-years-old, the future is very bright with Shayne Gostisbehere.