Its been a storybook Philadelphia Flyers season thus far. Yes, it’s only eight games into the season, but this bunch of Flyers play their tails off night in and night out. They are a fast, scoring oiled machine.
This season of Flyers hockey is unlike most others. They came into the season with a bunch of unknowns, mostly due to the youth infusion. One major unknown was would Shayne Gostisbehere get over the sophomore slump? Well, as most Flyers fans know he has, and he looks like a heck of an early Norris Trophy candidate. So we say sophomore what?
Ghost came into this season wanting to improve from last year’s sophmore slump, and an off-season hip surgery from the prior year. In the early going he has done just that. Ghost’s 47.2% Corsi rating is good for second best on the team to Radko Gudas’s 49.2%. Although, a Corsi rating is not contributed to takeaways and giveaways. A player with a lower Corsi rating often finds themselves chasing the puck more. It also places the team more often in defensive situations. Simply put, Ghost has done a great job defensively. He is second on Flyers defense for average ice time with 21:21, behind Ivan Provorov with 23:22.
Coming into a fresh start for the 2017-18 season, Ghost had a ton of pressure on him after signing a new deal with the Flyers. The deal is a 6 yr.-$27 million, and has an annual cap hit of 4.5 million dollars. Head Coach Dave Hakstol had the guts to pair Gostisbehere with a rookie in Robert Hagg. Whatever the rhyme or reason, they have been the most solid defensive pairing for the orange and black. They are very good in transition, while the other moves up the ice with the play. For his career, Ghost has registered 25 goals, and 71 assists for a total of 96 points in 150 games played.
Gostisbehere had this to say of the signing, “It’s a dream come true to be part of one of the best organizations in hockey. With everything that’s going on here – we’ve got some young guys coming up and we’ve already got some key pieces – it’s nice to know you’re part of the future and part of the plans.”
The young defenseman continues, “There’s many more steps to come and hopefully it leads to some great things. It’s a tremendous honor to realize you’re part of the future.”
After the game on Saturday against the Edmonton Oilers, Ghost found himself in elite company. After an assist on Claude Giroux’s goal, Ghost tied a former great defenseman for the Flyers Mark Howe, with 11 points in 8 games played. For the season, he has registered 1 goal, 10 assists, and is a plus 4. Ghost looks more sound defensively this season, as well as, offensively.
.@s_ghost14 collected his 11th pt. His 8-game start is tied for best by a #Flyers Dman in franchise history (Mark Howe, 2-9-11, 1985-86).
— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) October 21, 2017
The former Union product had this to say after the game on Saturday, “I think it’s just studying the game, perseverance. I’m an offensive guy, but I’m a defenseman first. I think if I take care of the defensive side the offensive side will take care of itself.”
Ghost is a key piece of the future for this quality organization. The sky is the limit for this young defenseman. Whether, if it’s the new deal that gave his extra added motivation or not. He is making the Flyers defense look really good at this point in the early going. Moreover, if he continues at this pace he could very well be a Norris Trophy Candidate. One thing is certain Flyers fans, the future is bright in Flyer land.
The Defensive Pairings have changed due to Andrew Macdonald’s injury. At today’s practice the pairings were as follows:
At this current time no call-up is imminent, until the orange and black go on their road trip.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports