Philadelphia Flyers rookie defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere has the entire hockey world buzzing about his offensive success this season. Since being recalled from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms of the AHL in November, “Ghost” has been nothing short of phenomenal, posting 30 points in 36 games.
Gostisbehere scored his tenth goal of the season Saturday afternoon in the third period of the Flyers-Devils matinee, setting a pair of rookie records.
The 22-year-old now holds the longest point streak by a rookie defenseman in NHL history. His power-play marker extended his current point streak to 11 games, surpassing the previously held record of 10 games, set by Barry Beck of the Colorado Rockies in the 1977-78 season.
Gostisbehere also broke the Flyers’ franchise record for longest point streak by a rookie, surpassing Mikael Renberg‘s previous record of 10 games.
The scouting reports have always suggested that Ghost possesses offensive upside. However, to break a record that had not been touched since 1977 is a special accomplishment. Some hockey experts have compared Ghost’s game to NHL legend Phil Housley. When you are mentioned in the same breath as someone like Housley, you know you must be doing something right.
I believe Gostisbehere deserves to be in the Calder Trophy conversation as rookie of the year. According to SportsNet, Ghost’s 0.83 points-per-game rate is higher than both John Klingberg (0.62) and 2015 Calder Trophy winner Aaron Ekblad (0.48), two defensemen who put together strong rookie campaigns in recent years.
Gostisbehere’s numbers are certainly not too shabby, especially for a former third-round pick, taken 78th overall in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. But even putting his offensive production aside, Gostisbehere has taken great strides in his 36 games with the big club to develop and improve his defensive play. He has even been charged, along with defensive partner Michael Del Zotto, with covering the best players on the opposing teams. Gostisbehere’s playmaking ability and hockey sense have been impressive, and his puck-handling and skating are every bit as skillful as expected. His points have also been very clutch; ten of his points have either been game-tying or game-winning points, several of which were game-winning, overtime power-play goals. He is clearly ahead of the learning curve and is a sign of good things to come since the Philadelphia organization is known for being unable to develop defensemen through the draft.
Flyers fans have long awaited Gostisbehere’s NHL arrival. Though it was originally believed he would take another year in the AHL to further develop after missing most of last season with an injury, Ghost came in at the perfect and has fully taken advantage of his opportunity. He was called up when defenseman Mark Streit went down with an injury, and Ghost hasn’t looked back since. Even now that Streit has returned to the lineup, Ghost has retained his point position on the Flyers’ top power-play unit, and he continues to produce big points.
Philadelphia has a few other defensive prospects waiting in the wings, such as Sam Morin, Travis Sanheim, Ivan Provorov and Robert Hagg, but none of them are as offensively dynamic as Gostisbehere. Ghost certainly has a bright future in Philadelphia.
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