Flyers

It's an important time to focus on Shayne Gostisbehere's ability, not his struggles

It's an important time to focus on Shayne Gostisbehere's ability, not his struggles

VOORHEES, N.J. — Shayne Gostisbehere has not had the season many envisioned.

His signature elusiveness and shot haven't resulted in offensive production, as Gostisbehere's numbers (five goals, 15 assists, minus-12 rating) are down noticeably from years past.

He was recently taken off of the first-unit power play, no longer controlling the point where he had burst onto the scene in 2015-16 and became a fixture for the Flyers.

Earlier this week, his name even surfaced among NHL trade buzz when TSN's Bob McKenzie addressed the Flyers' defenseman on TSN 690 Montreal.

The discussion was spurred after Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher essentially said the club had no untouchables other than Claude Giroux, who has a no-movement clause in his contract.

Here's some of what McKenzie had to say Monday:

They've got multifaceted plans in Philadelphia in terms of, 'We could keep this guy and we could move that guy, or we could keep that guy and move this guy,' and flip it around depending on what the interest is and what the prices are.

But Gostisbehere is a real good young defenseman who hasn't played to his potential with the Philadelphia Flyers recently, and you've got to be careful to give those guys away. … Gostisbehere is a name that's been out there, but I don't know that it's at the top of the list of things that Chuck Fletcher wants to move out of town.

And it shouldn't be.

Fletcher is smart to not take anything off the table. He's doing his due diligence by leaving all doors open because it can't hurt to listen on offers ahead of the Feb. 25 trade deadline.

However, Gostisbehere should be as close to an untouchable as any other player on the Flyers' roster. He shouldn't be judged off of 48 games during a season in which the entire team has had its struggles.

Remember, Gostisbehere is only 25 years old.

He has a reasonable cap hit of $4.5 million through the 2022-23 season.

His offensive skill set for a defenseman is indispensable in today's NHL.

His 65 points last season were a career high and fourth among NHL blueliners, while his 33 power-play points were first.

He was a Calder Memorial Trophy finalist his rookie season, highlighted by 17 goals and a 15-game point streak, the longest ever by a first-year NHL defenseman.

"He's pretty dynamic up there," James van Riemsdyk said during the preseason of Gostisbehere's ability to run the power-play point. "He's got a ton of skill and an unbelievable hockey sense. No play is ever out of the question for him, so you just try to get in good spots and he makes it look pretty easy up there."

Gostisbehere has missed the Flyers' last three games because of a lower-body injury. He's a game-time decision for Saturday's home contest against the Oilers (1 p.m./NBCSP) after being a "pleasant surprise" during practice Friday, according to interim head coach Scott Gordon.

Gostisbehere's absence is big. His return will be even bigger.

"We all know what Ghost can do," Gordon said.

Let's not forget that.

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Flyers at Islanders preseason: Storylines, game time and more

Flyers at Islanders preseason: Storylines, game time and more

VOORHEES, N.J. — The Flyers and Islanders are back at it Tuesday night.

Alain Vigneault's team travels to New York for its second exhibition game.

Let's get into the essentials:

• When: 7 p.m. ET
• Where: Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum
• Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia+

• A roster hopeful to keep an eye on will be German Rubtsov. He scored two goals in the rookie game, played well Monday night and he's right back out there Tuesday night. It appears like the Flyers could test his endurance and consistency with plenty of looks during the exhibition slate after an injury-shortened 2018-19 season.

"That's one of the reasons he's playing tonight," Vigneault said. "There are some decisions to be made and some of things we're going to do is put some players in a tougher spot to see how they react to it."

Rubtsov does a lot of things that profile well for a bottom-six role.

"I liked his game," Vigneault said. "I thought we put him in penalty killing situations, I thought with his linemates he was good and I liked his pace.

"When I watched him in the rookie game, you could see the skill. … He has to continue to improve. There seems to be a lot of upside there."

• Connor Bunnaman has had an underrated camp. The 2016 fourth-round pick scored 19 goals in his first year of pro last season with AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley. He has good size and some sneaky speed.

The 21-year-old did not play in the rookie game or the Flyers' preseason opener, so this will be our first look at him in game action.

• Many players did not partake in morning skate, so the Flyers' projected lineup is to be announced. Below is the game roster:

Forwards

Andy Andreoff
Michael Raffl
Scott Laughton
Mikhail Vorobyev
Kurtis Gabriel
Chris Stewart
German Rubtsov
Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Maksim Sushko
David Kase
Matthew Strome
Carsen Twarynski
Connor Bunnaman

Defense

Travis Sanheim
Robert Hagg
Chris Bigras
Tyler Wotherspoon
Nate Prosser
T.J. Brennan
Mark Friedman

Goalies

Carter Hart
Jean-Francois Berube

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Sights and scenes from Travis Konecny's first day back at Flyers training camp

Sights and scenes from Travis Konecny's first day back at Flyers training camp

VOORHEES, N.J. — Travis Konecny didn't expect to play like Wayne Gretzky.

"If you guys watched it, I didn't look too great out there, bobbling the puck a little bit," he said with a laugh. "But it's just rust, it's going to come back. Just being patient right now and going through all the aches and pains that come with it."

Konecny will be himself again. He missed the Flyers' first three days of training camp but is ready to catch up (see story). He started that goal Tuesday after signing a six-year, $33 million contract Monday.

His teammates love his energy and spirit. He's become a fan favorite and his Stadium Series show solidified that status.

The Konecny vibes were back at the Flyers' practice facility Tuesday. Here are some of the sights and scenes:

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