clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

2015-16 Flyers season review: We get to watch Shayne Gostisbehere play hockey and it's a gift

New, comments

Shayne Gostisbehere was a gift to this Philadelphia Flyers season, and he's a gift to all of us. Let's do it again next year.

Patrick Smith/Getty Images

We continue our player-by-player review of the 2015-16 Philadelphia Flyers season today with one of the best rookies this team has ever seen: Shayne Gostisbehere.

I'm already on the record saying that Gostisbehere earned my vote for the Calder Trophy, awarded each year to the NHL's best rookie. So you know where I stand on this guy. He was the most consequential defenseman on a bad defensive team, he's the most thrilling player on this team to watch on a nightly basis, and ... well, the big question has to be: can he keep doing this?

Shayne Gostisbehere

Position Defenseman
Age 23 (April 20, 1993)
Contract Status Signed through 2016-17 for $925,000 per year (entry level)
2015-16 Regular Season Numbers (click buttons to expand)

First, let's talk about everything Ghost did so well this year.

From his first game of the season after his call up from Lehigh Valley in November, he added a dynamic element to the Flyers blue line almost immediately. His skating and his stick work and his ability to break up opposing rushes in the neutral zone are his immediately-noticeable qualities. He's becoming a strong possession defenseman, his work in his own end is improving, and that's all true even despite the fact that he had to carry Andrew MacDonald on his pairing for nearly half the year.

But the most impactful part of his game this season, of course, was the scoring. He immediately found chemistry with Claude Giroux on the Flyers' top power play unit, and he wound up with nearly four minutes of power play ice time per game by the time the season ended. He blew all other rookie defensemen away in scoring per game, with 0.72 points per game on the year. He blew away any recent competition too, as this was the best number by a rookie defenseman since Vladimir Malakhov in 1992-93. Ghost was born days after that regular season ended.

Looking at non-rookies, he finished behind just Erik Karlsson, Kris Letang, Brent Burns, John Klingberg, Roman Jose, P.K. Subban, Oliver Ekman-Larsson in that category. Good company.

On top of that, we all know just how impactful so many of his points were. Five of the 17 goals he scored were game winners. Six of his points were in overtime, including three of his goals. The large majority of his points were either game-tying or game-winning. He directly gave the Flyers six wins. I mean, that's huge.

There's a chance he's not quite as impactful a scorer next year, to be sure. His 11.2 percent shooting conversion rate is not completely unsustainable, but it wouldn't be shocking to see it come down a bit. Even if Ghost doesn't score at quite the rate he did this season, though, that doesn't mean he's going to be any less effective a player. His skills are already an absurdly high level, and his instincts at NHL speed are only going to get better as he moves into his prime years.

We get to watch Shayne Gostisbehere for, what, at least 10 more years? How cool is that?

Player Card (via hockeyviz.com)

Neutral zone data via BSH's Charlie O'Connor; all other data via war-on-ice.com unless otherwise noted.