Gostisbehere waived: What comes next for the Flyers?

NHL: MAR 10 Bruins at Flyers
PHILADELPHIA, PA – MARCH 10: Philadelphia Flyers Defenceman Shayne Gostisbehere (53) readies for a faceoff in the second period during the game between the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers on March 10, 2020 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

The Philadelphia Flyers waived defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere on Tuesday, shocking fans across the City. What does this mean for the team moving forward?

Saying goodbye to Gostisbehere

Gostisbehere being placed on waivers comes as a surprise considering the role he has been playing of late. He has been seeing more ice time and has been active in the offensive zone. The Florida native has been averaging over 20 minutes of ice time in the 25 games he has played this year – more than his career average. He has three assists to go along with a +2 over his last five games.

The move appears to free up some cap space. The Flyers are strapped for cash and Ghost had a $4.5 million cap hit. Is the expectation here that Ghost clears and goes to Lehigh or the taxi squad? If so the Flyers will only clear a small chunk of cap room.

I am confused as to why GM Chuck Fletcher would waive a trade asset. This move is reminiscent of an Ed Wade move, when the Phillies GM failed to trade away Rico Brogna at the trade deadline, then waived him, allowing the Boston Red Sox to claim him for free.

This move for me creates more questions than answers. Either way, I expect Gostisbehere to be claimed relatively quickly, possibly by Florida.

Rolling with Gustafsson?

The move means the Flyers will turn to Erik Gustafsson as the third pairing offensive-minded D-man. If we compare the two, Ghost has enjoyed a slightly better year and has played better recently. Gus has ten points in 23 games and hasn’t played since March 17th. In his last five games played, he has zero points and is a minus four. He also only generated three shots in those games. Both can run the second power-paly, but in my mind, Ghost is the better option.

Morin forcing Change?

In looking at this move, where something else appears to be afoot, I can’t help but wonder if Sam Moin’s play has anything to do with it. Yes, Morin has only played in three games so the sample size is small. He has only been on the ice for one goal against. During that, he did make a mistake which allowed Buffalo to score. However, looking at that play, Morin was playing marking two of the Buffalo forwards in Jeff Skinner and Kyle Okposo. The right side of the ice was left open by everyone, allowing Jokiharju to walk in and score. Other than that Morin has been good and has been gaining confidence and showing he does belong. He is physical and clears the front of the net with his size and strength, something Ghost has struggled to do.

Another thought, is there be a dressing room issue, and whether Ghost was part of a bigger problem? Or is this simply a move to allow Morin more time in the NHL? Maybe it’s to free up space for a big move? The Flyers are currently practicing, so we should know more at the post-practice press conference. Yes, Ghost is practicing:

What is the Plan?

I have been critical of Ghost but hoped he was turning the corner. He would show signs of it, then he wouldn’t. Turnovers were his undoing and he and head coach Alain Vigneault never really seemed to click. That being said, there are those speculating that this is just the first step in a possible major move for the Flyers. Either way, fans are expressing their displeasure on Twitter. Stick with PSN as this story develops.

Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire