On the 23rd game of the 2019-20 season, Shayne Gostisbehere was a healthy scratch for the Flyers.
Robert Hagg played in his place Saturday afternoon as the Flyers took on the Flames at the Wells Fargo Center (see observations).
Gostisbehere, not far removed from his career year in 2017-18 when he scored the fourth-most points among NHL defensemen with 65, has not looked like his dynamic self this season. The 26-year-old lost his role on the first-unit power play and has six points (one goal, five assists) in 22 games.
When Gostisbehere is going right, he's skillfully moving the puck up ice and a real presence offensively.
Alain Vigneault said sitting Shayne Gostisbehere was matchup based. Robert Hagg could give them more size against heavier bottom lines. pic.twitter.com/uil5RChlRZ— Jordan Hall (@JHallNBCS) November 23, 2019
“I am expecting a little bit more as far as plays with the puck," Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said of Gostisbehere on Friday. "An offensive defenseman has to have the ability to beat the forecheck and to know when to jump in. I have seen some of that. Ghost is a little bit like our team — he’s a work in progress, he can play better, he will get better.”
Gostisbehere had an average ice time of 12:45 over the last two games and he hasn't scored a point in the past six.
Through his first 22 games in 2017-18, Gostisbehere had 19 points (three goals, 16 assists). Through his first 22 games last season, he had 11 points (three goals, eight assists).
Last season, Gostisbehere played for two head coaches and two different assistant coaches that oversaw the Flyers' defensemen.
A month ago, Gostisbehere commended the early process under the new coaching staff.
“I think their communication is such a big thing, you always know where you stand,” Gostisbehere said. “The scheduling, the communication is so clear. We know our system, any guy in here will have the same answer if you asked anything about the system. I think that’s a good part. It’s up to us and finding that chemistry and putting the product out there.”
The Flyers are in a busy stretch and they'll need Gostisbehere. Saturday was the start of five games in eight days. The Flyers will continue to search for ways to get the best Gostisbehere.
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