When it came to Shayne Gostisbehere, Chuck Fletcher had a good sense of humor at Monday's NHL trade deadline.
The general manager also had good overall sense.
No, the Flyers weren't looking to shop the defenseman, nor should they have been as the trade market unfolded.
The Twittersphere probably suggested otherwise.
"That’s been the interesting one," Fletcher said of Gostisbehere at Flyers Skate Zone. "I’ve been here a year. I can’t say I'm always on social media but I’m amazed at how often I’m trading him."
The Flyers didn't move Gostisbehere and they weren't expected to. Is he a nice trade chip? Of course, he has shown how productive he can be when he's making plays along the blue line, he's not far removed from a career 65-point year in 2017-18, he's only 26 years old and he's under contract for the next three seasons at a comfortable $4.5 million cap hit.
But you don't just play your chips to play your chips. And Fletcher will have this chip moving forward, when it might be more playable. Gostisbehere's trade stock was far from its peak Monday. He has missed 18 of the Flyers' last 19 games because of a left knee injury and is enduring his worst NHL season as he's projected to finish with career lows in goals (seven) and points (18).
Even if the Flyers weren't opposed to moving Gostisbehere, why do it now?
"We were certainly not looking to move him," Fletcher said. "Teams have called me on him. Nothing really makes sense right now to me to move one of our seven D unless we’re getting a really great impact player back in some area. Those types of trades usually don’t happen right now."
A thought process could be that the Flyers possess young depth on defense and quality blue-line prospects in the system, like Egor Zamula, Cam York and Wyatt Kalynuk, to name a few. If the team wanted to drastically improve an area of need with a splash, shedding from defense would have been a route to pursue. It wasn't happening, or at least not now at this deadline.
After a conditioning loan to AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley last weekend, Gostisbehere is back with the Flyers, who are getting healthier at a position of strength. Fletcher wasn't going to mess with that.
"I like Shayne," Fletcher said. "He’s gone through a few weeks, probably over a month now with some knee issues. He’s cleaned it up. He skated really well this weekend. Right now, we are carrying seven D. He’s one of them. He’s a guy that I think can still contribute. He can play on the power play.
"Frankly, I think Shayne can get back to where he was and help us. If he can take a step and get that confidence back offensively, that would be a big boost to our team."
And it would fuel the conversation everywhere. Especially on social media.
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