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 Talk podcast: Analyzing Flyers' odds in NHL's 24-team format, Bill Daly's insight on what's next

Flyers Talk podcast: Analyzing Flyers' odds in NHL's 24-team format, Bill Daly's insight on what's next

On the latest Flyers Talk podcast, NBC Sports Philadelphia's Katie Emmer and Jordan Hall analyze the orange and black's odds in the NHL's 24-team return-to-play plan.

From Michael Barkann's interview with NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly to predicting the Flyers' lineup, let's dive in:

1:05 — What would be a fun wrinkle to the 24-team return-to-play model

8:55 — Giving our predictions for the Flyers' lineup to start the 24-team format

21:55 — There will be some unique strategy for Alain Vigneault in the round robin

25:15 — What do we think of the Flyers' odds in this field?

30:50 — Daly talks all things 24-team format

35:00 — How will finishing this season impact the 2020-21 season?

• 44:05 — A taste of the "Marathon on Ice"

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Gritty slippers for James van Riemsdyk's baby girl will make for adorable picture

Gritty slippers for James van Riemsdyk's baby girl will make for adorable picture

James van Riemsdyk has been a busy guy lately.

He's experiencing fatherhood for the first time as he and his wife Lauren welcomed their baby daughter Scarlett Everly into the world earlier this month. He's in the process of moving into a new home in Minnesota. And he's the Flyers' representative for the NHLPA, which has been critical to the league's return-to-play plan.

So maybe Gritty decided it was a good time to help out his teammate. JVR's little girl already has some Gritty apparel.

“Gritty slippers, so she’ll be introduced soon enough hopefully," van Riemsdyk said Friday on Lunch Talk Live with NBC Sports' Mike Tirico. "We can’t wait for that picture.”

Same with Gritty. Let's give a stick tap to whoever supplied the Gritty footwear for Scarlett Everly. What a clutch gift. You'd expect the orange fella was going to make it happen one way or the other, even with a busy schedule of his own.

While van Riemsdyk probably misses Gritty, he has enjoyed being a dad during the NHL stoppage.

“It has been incredible," van Riemsdyk said last week on a conference call. "The silver lining out of all of this stuff is just the extra time I’ve been able to spend at home and be there for all the little moments and just worry about being a dad first and foremost. That has been unbelievable. Everyone who has kids knows, it’s a life-changing moment and something that’s hard to even describe until you see her and meet her for the first time. That has been awesome."

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