At first, the Philadelphia Flyers waiving Shayne Gostisbehere seemed dangerous. If it all works to plan, we may look back on this move as one of Chuck Fletcher brilliance.
As time elapses, placing Shayne Gostisbehere on waivers seems more and more like a money move. During the current win streak, he has played a beneficial role for the Philadelphia Flyers. Chuck Fletcher, who made it clear in his press conference that the team is not in a position to sell, is engaging as a buyer.
Currently, Gostisbehere is the second-highest-paid defenseman in Philadelphia annually. His $4.5m price tag would free $1.075mil if he clears waivers to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms or his entire salary if he moves to another franchise. Fletcher has made calls but acknowledged trade talks before the deadline have remained quiet. The defensive makeup isn’t ideal for the Flyers. An attempt to free more space by waiving Gostisbehere could present an opportunity to bring in a physical, defensive defenseman.
Could Gostisbehere Go To Florida?
It isn’t surprising when a player leaves the team that drafted them to move back closer to home. Following an injury to the Florida Panthers’ Aaron Ekblad, Gostisbehere could be a fit. Ekblad has a powerplay presence on the Panthers. Gostisbehere, an offensive-minded defenseman, quarterbacks Philadelphia’s powerplay. It makes sense.
If Florida signs Gostisbehere, the Flyers open $4.5mil in cap space. That is the ideal scenario in Fletcher’s decision.
Concerning the NHL Expansion Draft, the Seattle Kraken are unlikely to draft any defenseman from the Flyers. Right now, it is clear who would be protected (Ivan Provorov, Travis Sanheim, and Philippe Myers.) What muddles that picture is if Fletcher acquires or trades for a defenseman who provides quality longevity in Philadelphia.
Any wish for the Kraken to draft Gostisbehere would have been a pipe-dream, especially at his price.
Today, Gostisbehere is actively practicing ahead of tomorrow’s matchup on the road versus the Buffalo Sabres. The earliest anyone would know of him clearing waivers is tomorrow at noon.
Mattias Ekholm, who has created a buzz among the Flyers rumor mill, would receive $3.75mil through 2021-2022. Philadelphia upgrades on defense in a trade for him while saving money on the cap. It would be a powerplay negotiation if Fletcher could effectively swap defensemen.
Suddenly, if the Flyers hit the jackpot with a team acquiring Gostisbehere, their salary cap situation suddenly becomes much more attractive. Less than a week ago, Fletcher stressed the importance of not over-analyzing this season to make a rash decision. Now, with an opportunity presenting itself, this could be a brilliant move towards a “win-now” effort before the deadline. A quality trade would be imminent and could account for a new, improved feel to 2020-2021 in Philadelphia.
Photo Credit: Alex Mcintyre