It was a difficult decision but one which seemed necessary to us given the reality of the salary cap. Shayne has been a quality player for this organization since arriving in Philadelphia and has been involved in many special moments during his seven seasons as the Flyer.
After landing Ryan Ellis Just before the trade freeze went into effect, it was clear the Flyers would need to clear some cash before the season started. Moving Gostisbehere accomplishes this, as its cap of $ 4.5 million will go entirely to the Coyotes.
Since signing a six-year, $ 27 million contract extension in 2017, there has been speculation about Gostisbehere’s future in Philadelphia. He burst onto the NHL scene in 2015-16 with 46 points as a rookie, finishing second in the Calder Trophy vote, and followed with a second top-down campaign. At first, the new contract seemed like a bargain, with Gostisbehere racking up 65 points in 78 games during the 2017-18 season. But then things started to take a turn for the worse, to the point where he scratched himself several times over the past two seasons.
This year he had 20 points in 41 games, still playing a high-risk style that pushed offense but sacrificed defense. There is no doubt that it can be a valuable piece for a team looking for someone to contribute from the back end, but with the other options already in the Flyers system, it had become redundant.
For Arizona, however, Gostisbehere represents not only an actor who can still contribute, but also a means to recoup some of the assets that the organization has lost in recent years. The team was forced to give up two high draft picks after committing infractions, then gave up another after selecting a player who had been convicted of assault. By accepting the total success of Gostisbehere, they added two choices to the system that they can use to rebuild it.
Les Coyotes, under the leadership of the new general manager Bill Armstrong, now have seven second-round picks over the next two draft. While the 11th pick this year, which was originally theirs, is still lost, they will at least be able to inject prospects into the organization who have a chance to help them succeed in the future. Twice now, besides accepting Andrew Ladd‘s deal, the team used the cap space as a weapon. It will be interesting to see if Gostisbehere actually plays his contract in Arizona, or if he actually returned at some point to a lower cost competitor.
This story originally referred to a tweet from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman that said the picks were going to Philadelphia.