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Prospect Profile: Shayne Gostisbehere

Tuesday, 12.11.2012 / 7:35 AM ET
By Anthony SanFilippo - Philadelphia Flyers Inside Reporter / Flyers Inside Out
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A breakthrough freshman season. Getting drafted by an NHL team. Having an even better start to the sophomore campaign. Just days away from being asked to represent the United States at the World Junior Championships.

The last 12 months of Shayne Gostisbehere’s life has been a whirlwind, for sure, but one where each time he turns around he’s gaining more and more positive notoriety.

Not that he’s letting it get to his head at all.

“Right now I see myself in the same spot I was in a year ago,” said Gostisbehere, 19, a sophomore defenseman for Union College (N.Y.). “I’m just doing what I have to do in college. I’m not looking to make any jumps because of everything that’s happened. I just want to keep going to college.”

It’s not that anyone is pushing him to do something else – specifically the Philadelphia Flyers, who drafted him in the third round (78th overall) of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

It’s just that he has his priorities and he’s keeping them in line.

He’s getting good grades. He’s playing good hockey. He’s already been named to the preliminary roster for the U.S. World Junior Hockey Championship team and all indications are he’ll probably be on the final roster for that tournament that takes place during the Christmas season.

Did we mention he’s playing good hockey?

Through his first 13 games this season, Gostisbehere, a native of Margate, Florida, had 13 points - not bad for a defenseman to average a point per game. But he has a flair for the dramatic. He has game-winning goals. He had game-tying goals. He single-handedly has brought his team back from the brink of defeat to either tie or win a game.

Oh, and he’s been playing responsible defense too.

“I was surprised how mature he is game-wise,” said Flyers Director of Player Development Ian Laperriere. “Everyone is excited about his numbers, but I’m happiest with his awareness in his own zone.

“One of the best things about him is he always wants to be part of the answer to whatever the team needs to succeed. That’s a great quality that not too many young guys have in their game, but he does.”

Hockey’s Future had him rated as the fourth-best NCAA prospect in the draft last summer, offering this scouting report:

Gostisbehere is a smart, puck-moving defenseman who sees the ice remarkably well. But what sets him apart from many collegiate rookie defensemen is his ability to balance great offensive skills with a solid defensive game. Gostisbehere is smart in knowing when to jump into plays and his decision-making is very good. He moves exceedingly well with the puck and his passing skills are excellent. Gostisbehere also possesses a great stick and does a good job of taking away lanes. While Gostisbehere's one-on-one coverage is good, he'll need to continue to improve his gap control. Gostisbehere is a superb skater with good speed and agility. He possesses a very good shot and can get pucks to the net. Gostisbehere's greatest attributes, such as his skating will be further enhanced with continued physical development.

“It’s definitely been a good season so far,” Gostisbehere said. “My team is off to a great start and hopefully we can build off it. As for me personally, I just want to keep doing what I’m doing and hopefully it will keep going as well as it has so far.”

If Gostisbehere can avoid injury – he’s already dealt with an ankle sprain and a nasty cut on his nose – there’s no reason that he should drop off. After all, it was last season that he got on the Flyers’ radar when he actually got better during the NCAA playoffs and was a key ingredient to Union’s unexpected run to the Frozen Four.

Couple that with what expects to be a thrilling World Junior tournament where the Americans are again, expected to be among the favorites with Canada and Russia, and Gostisbehere is on a very solid path.

“It’s a great honor to be added to that roster and I’m looking forward to training camp for the tournament,” he said. “I felt like I gave it my all during the summer and wanted to give myself the best chance of being part of that team.”

Playing two times a week now is easy-peasy compared to the grueling schedule of the World Junior Tournament, but Laperriere thinks Gostisbehere will hold up well.

“He has a flair offensively but he’s not a big guy,” Laperriere said. “ But that doesn’t matter if he can skate and compete and he’s getting better at that every year. Hopefully he’ll learn from all those tournaments. When you are 18-19-years-old, it’s a real test, but he’s playing against 21-22 year olds in college so he should be fine. I’m actually looking forward to seeing him play because of that.”

And Flyers fans should be excited, because it’s been quite a long time since a homegrown defenseman has blossomed into a quality player for the Flyers, however the organization feels cautiously optimistic that they may have found a gem in the third round.

“I think fans can be excited, yeah,” Laperriere said. “He’s not the physical big guy, but… well… I’m not going to say he’s going to be a Kimmo Timonen, but he has the offensive mindset and the intelligence like Kimmo does. It’s encouraging to see that he has those details in his game already. We hope he improves like we want him to because we think he could develop into a really good player at the next level.”

To contact Anthony SanFilippo email asanfilippo@comcast-spectacor.com or follow him on Twitter @AnthonySan37

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Giroux 78 22 45 -8 67
W. Simmonds 81 32 28 -7 60
B. Schenn 80 26 33 3 59
J. Voracek 73 11 44 -5 55
S. Gostisbehere 64 17 29 8 46
S. Couturier 63 11 28 8 39
M. Raffl 82 13 18 9 31
M. Read 79 11 15 -5 26
M. Streit 62 6 17 -1 23
S. Laughton 71 7 14 -2 21
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 23 19 10 .918 2.51
M. Neuvirth 18 8 4 .924 2.27
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