Talk about a news bomb in the middle of an otherwise fine Tuesday. The Flyers just announced that they’ve placed defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere on waivers, which was certainly a shock. So what’s going on here?
The likely answer is that the Flyers are putting him on waivers with the plan that, if he clears, they can assign him to the taxi squad. We’ve seen them (and teams around the league) use this move all season, and assigning players to the taxi squad on non-game days allows them to bank cap space. The Flyers aren’t in dire need of cap space (though it’s hard to turn down more if they have another move coming).
But the if there is still a big one. Gostisbehere is signed for three more seasons at $4.5 million AAV, which is a relatively high figure to take on in a season like this, as we’re dealing with a flat cap, and many teams being close to the ceiling. That cap hit, of course, isn’t high enough to be completely prohibitive—we could easily see a team like, for example, the Florida Panthers (with just over $9.5 million in cap space, and now without Aaron Ekblad for the remainder of the season) taking a shot on him.
The most likely scenario is the Gostisbehere clears waivers, but there does still remain a certain amount of risk that comes with this move. And if he does end up getting snatched up by another team, the Flyers will find themselves in an even more tenuous situation on defense than they’re in right now. It seems a bit of a strange situation, but we’ll see at about this time tomorrow where we’ve landed.