In 2015, Shayne Gostisbehere took the NHL by storm. The Flyers’ young defensemen showed a gifted offensive awareness from the blue line. The Flyers selected Ghost 78th overall in the 2012 NHL draft, becoming the first NHL player who was born and raised in South Florida.
During his rookie year, Ghost set a rookie record for a defenseman by scoring points in 15 consecutive games. He was selected to the NHL All-rookie team and finished second in the Calder Cup voting as Rookie of the Year. Ghost was also the only rookie defenseman to score 4 overtime goals and finished the year leading all Flyers defensemen with 46 points.
What was impressive about Ghost was his ability to get shots from the point on the net. Subtle movement along the blue line opened up shooting lanes. Ghost has a massive shot from the point, ending his rookie campaign with an 11.2 shooting percentage.
The Next Three Seasons
Following Gostisbehere’s amazing rookie season, he definitely fell into a sophomore slump stat-wise. Ghost only had 39 points and finished with a minus 22. After potting 17 goals his rookie year, he only scored 7 during his second season. Only one of these was game-winning.
He bounced back in year three though, scoring a career-high 65 points. He potted 13 goals and had a career-high in assists with 52 to go with a +11 rating.
But last season saw his trajectory dip once again. His point total dropped down to a career-low of 37, but that was the least of his concerns. Subpar play had people asking if the young blue-liner should be traded. He openly complained about his role, and that he wasn’t being utilized right by the coaches. The rise of Phil Myers had many believe Ghost was expendable.
Starting off the 2019 season
Based on his track record, every other year Gostisbehere has had a great season. We should expect that this year he rebounds. However, so far, not so good. In 7 games, Ghost has one assist and just one point! In all fairness, he’s not the only Flyer star that is struggling. Claude Giroux and JVR are also struggling to find the back of the twine and should be held accountable too.
Ghost’s struggles aren’t just because of a lack of points. He seems, to me, to lack confidence with the puck, making bad passes and committing frequent turnovers. On the defensive side, most notably against Vegas, he struggled. On multiple occasions, Ghost had good position but wasn’t strong enough to hold off the forward not gain possession of the puck. He did get his first point of the season.
So the question needs to be asked, what should the Flyers do with Ghost? Defensively he’s below average, but we can’t discount his ability to score and be a game-changer. Would a position change be something to consider? The hopes of Ghost being a ‘Erik Karlsson’ style defender isn’t coming to fruition. A move to wing might be able to kick start his offensive ability.
As the young season continues tonight, patience has to be the keyword to remember. The new system Alain Vigneault has installed will take some time…it’s all a part of the process. The question is, will Ghost be the eventual answer?
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports