VOORHEES -- In only two games with the Philadelphia Flyers this season, Shayne Gostisbehere has added an entirely new element to the team's blueline - that of a dynamic, risk-taking offensive defenseman.
It's helped that both the team and the organization have done their best to ease the transition from Lehigh Valley to Philadelphia. Gostisbehere was asked yesterday after practice if it has been difficult to adjust to his new role as power play quarterback on the team's top unit, and he explained that his job has actually been fairly straightforward.
"Not really - surprisingly, it's very simple," Gostisbehere said. "You just read off the players. I read off [Jakub Voracek], and [Claude Giroux] on the breakout. They just tell me to shoot the puck, so that's what I'm going to do."
Gostisbehere has also picked up the Flyers' system at even strength very quickly, partially because of its similarity to the tactical philosophy in Lehigh Valley. According to the defenseman, the organization is teaching Hakstol's more aggressive system to the Phantoms as well.
"[The systems are] definitely pretty similar," Gostisbehere noted. "I'd say the only difference is a little bit of the neutral zone. We play a little lock of one side. Slight differences, but not that big of a deal."
Just as his teammates are adjusting to Gostisbehere's presence, opponents are adjusting the young defenseman as well. The 22-year old was targeted on the rush a total of eleven times on Saturday against the Carolina Hurricanes, but he did not allow one controlled offensive zone entry and broke up two plays at the blue line. His aggressive play at the blue line was no fluke - it's a key part of Gostisbehere's game.
"I try to hold our blue line as much as I can," Gostisbehere said. "If I'm making teams dump it in, they're not getting the possession. That's my job."
When asked if he thought teams were dumping the puck to his side to try to outwork him along the boards, Gostisbehere felt that the thought processes of his opponents were irrelevant to him, as he planned to continue playing his preferred aggressive style on the rush.
"I don't know if they're dumping it in on my side for a reason. I just try to hold my blueline, have a good gap, and not let them have possession."
So far, it's been a key reason for Gostisbehere's early success.