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  4. title => "Shayne Gostisbehere still evolving, knows where he stands with Flyers"
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  6. article_body => "<p>VOORHEES, N.J. \u2014 Ever since Shayne Gostisbehere took the Flyers by storm in 2015-16, pushing them into the playoffs behind 17 goals in 64 games as a rookie, the defenseman\u2019s success has more often than not been associated with numbers.<\/p>\n<p>Point production is an easy, sometimes lazy, way to determine if Gostisbehere is on top of his game. He fueled that narrative in 2017-18 when he scored the fourth-most points among all NHL defensemen with 65.<\/p>\n<p>Eleven games into 2019-20, following a season in which he scored 37 points, was a minus-20 and some trade buzz floated around, Gostisbehere hasn\u2019t put up the offensive statistics many cry for when judging his game. He had four points on one goal and three assists through the Flyers\u2019 5-5-1 October.<\/p>\n<p>But a lower point total doesn\u2019t mean Gostisbehere\u2019s dynamic ability isn\u2019t there. It doesn\u2019t mean he\u2019s no longer a threat to the opposition\u2019s defense. It doesn\u2019t mean he\u2019s not pushing the puck up ice to augment the Flyers\u2019 attack-oriented style.<\/p>\n<p>And it doesn\u2019t mean he\u2019s done evolving as a 26-year-old.<\/p>\n<p>What was different when he was 22 and ripping off goal after goal?<\/p>\n<p>\u201cNo one knew who the hell I was,\u201d Gostisbehere said Thursday. \u201cA lot easier, man, they don\u2019t think a little 5-11 guy is going to have a shot like that. So I was little more open, but it\u2019s a little different, you\u2019ve got to roll with it. That\u2019s what makes you a good player \u2014 when players know what you\u2019re going to do but you can still do it.<\/p>\n<p>\u201cLook at [Alex Ovechkin], everyone knows he\u2019s going to one-T, but he\u2019s still doing it. I think that\u2019s growing as a player and making yourself better, more skilled.\u201d<\/p>\n<p>The Flyers need Gostisbehere to continue to adjust, transition the puck and create offense. Points aren\u2019t everything but they are something, and the Flyers are better when Gostisbehere is scoring. He didn\u2019t do it nearly enough last season and 2019-20 hasn\u2019t started better.&nbsp;<\/p>\n<p>The Flyers are also deeper this season on the blue line. Ivan Provorov, Matt Niskanen and Travis Sanheim are all playing 20-plus minutes a game. Provorov handles No. 1-like responsibilities, Niskanen plays on both special teams units and the offensive-minded Sanheim is coming off a promising year. The Flyers also added 32-year-old veteran Justin Braun to help lighten the burden on the young defense.<\/p>\n<p>The points might not come as much for Gostisbehere. He might not ever score 65&nbsp;again.<\/p>\n<p>Is that a huge deal?<\/p>\n<p>\u201cEveryone is going to have some good years \u2014 that was one of my better years obviously,\u201d Gostisbehere said. \u201cWe have a different supporting cast this year, we have a lot of good guys who can put up some numbers and help our team contribute. It\u2019s a different league where every defenseman has a little offensive instincts. For us, it\u2019s good. The more, the merrier.\u201d<\/p>\n<p>The Flyers\u2019 coaching staff is sticking with Gostisbehere and his power-play role. This season, he is new to head coach Alain Vigneault and assistants Michel Therrien (power play, forwards) and Mike Yeo (penalty kill, defensemen). Vigneault knew of Gostisbehere, though, and is aware of the ability. He would like to see it more.<\/p>\n<p>\u201cI think points are a reward for doing the right things,\u201d Vigneault said. \u201cI\u2019ve seen him come here, have a great camp, really well prepared. A little inconsistency, but a lot of times you see that vision and that passing and that shooting ability \u2014 if we could just see it on a more consistent basis, we\u2019d be a better team for it. I know he knows that and he\u2019s trying his best. It\u2019s the same thing with our best players. It\u2019s time to step up and lead the way. In Ghost\u2019s case, he\u2019s one of our top offensive players and he needs to lead the way, also.\u201d<\/p>\n<p>As the coaching staff has worked with Gostisbehere, keeping faith in the power play quarterback, he has noticed.<\/p>\n<p>\u201cI think their communication is such a big thing, you always know where you stand,\u201d Gostisbehere said. \u201cThe 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\u2019s a good part. It\u2019s up to us and finding that chemistry and putting the product out there.\u201d<\/p>\n<p><em><strong><a href=\"https:\/\/smart.link\/5bb788a3d5b83?site_id=Web_NBCS_Philly&amp;creative_id=nbcsphi1356&amp;cp_4=www.nbcsports.com&amp;cp_1=washington&amp;cp_2=myteams-nbc-sports&amp;cp_3=nbcsphi1356\">Click here<\/a> to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.<\/strong><\/em><\/p>\n<h3 dir=\"ltr\"><strong>More on the Flyers<\/strong><\/h3>\n<ul>\n<li dir=\"ltr\">\n<p dir=\"ltr\"><a href=\"https:\/\/www.nbcsports.com\/philadelphia\/flyers\/unknown-remains-chuck-fletcher-nolan-patrick-injury-recovery-migraine-disorder\">What to make of the unknown surrounding Patrick, options at center<\/a><\/p>\n<\/li>\n<li dir=\"ltr\">\n<p dir=\"ltr\"><a href=\"https:\/\/www.nbcsports.com\/philadelphia\/flyers\/flyers-roster-chuck-fletcher-philippe-myers-german-rubtsov-carsen-twarysnki-samuel-morin\">Fletcher shows he wasn\u2019t kidding with latest slew of Flyers\u2019 roster moves&nbsp;<\/a><\/p>\n<\/li>\n<li dir=\"ltr\">\n<p dir=\"ltr\"><a href=\"https:\/\/www.nbcsports.com\/philadelphia\/flyers\/maple-leafs-dave-hakstol-returns-philadelphia-alain-vigneault-similar-situation-flyers\">Hakstol set to return as his Flyers successor feels his challenge<\/a><\/p>\n<\/li>\n<li dir=\"ltr\">\n<p dir=\"ltr\"><a href=\"https:\/\/www.nbcsports.com\/philadelphia\/flyers\/brian-elliott-flyers-embarrassed-by-sidney-crobsy-penguins\">Just how bad was it? Some perspective after Flyers get embarrassed<\/a><\/p>\n<\/li>\n<li dir=\"ltr\">\n<p dir=\"ltr\"><a href=\"https:\/\/www.nbcsports.com\/philadelphia\/flyers\/future-flyers-report-prospects-morgan-frost-german-rubtsov-heating-up-lehigh-valley-phantoms\">Frost starting to heat up the Valley, Rubtsov not far behind<\/a><\/p>\n<\/li>\n<\/ul>\n"
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Flyers

Flyers

VOORHEES, N.J. — Ever since Shayne Gostisbehere took the Flyers by storm in 2015-16, pushing them into the playoffs behind 17 goals in 64 games as a rookie, the defenseman’s success has more often than not been associated with numbers.

Point production is an easy, sometimes lazy, way to determine if Gostisbehere is on top of his game. He fueled that narrative in 2017-18 when he scored the fourth-most points among all NHL defensemen with 65.

Eleven games into 2019-20, following a season in which he scored 37 points, was a minus-20 and some trade buzz floated around, Gostisbehere hasn’t put up the offensive statistics many cry for when judging his game. He had four points on one goal and three assists through the Flyers’ 5-5-1 October.

But a lower point total doesn’t mean Gostisbehere’s dynamic ability isn’t there. It doesn’t mean he’s no longer a threat to the opposition’s defense. It doesn’t mean he’s not pushing the puck up ice to augment the Flyers’ attack-oriented style.

And it doesn’t mean he’s done evolving as a 26-year-old.

What was different when he was 22 and ripping off goal after goal?

“No one knew who the hell I was,” Gostisbehere said Thursday. “A lot easier, man, they don’t think a little 5-11 guy is going to have a shot like that. So I was little more open, but it’s a little different, you’ve got to roll with it. That’s what makes you a good player — when players know what you’re going to do but you can still do it.

 

“Look at [Alex Ovechkin], everyone knows he’s going to one-T, but he’s still doing it. I think that’s growing as a player and making yourself better, more skilled.”

The Flyers need Gostisbehere to continue to adjust, transition the puck and create offense. Points aren’t everything but they are something, and the Flyers are better when Gostisbehere is scoring. He didn’t do it nearly enough last season and 2019-20 hasn’t started better. 

The Flyers are also deeper this season on the blue line. Ivan Provorov, Matt Niskanen and Travis Sanheim are all playing 20-plus minutes a game. Provorov handles No. 1-like responsibilities, Niskanen plays on both special teams units and the offensive-minded Sanheim is coming off a promising year. The Flyers also added 32-year-old veteran Justin Braun to help lighten the burden on the young defense.

The points might not come as much for Gostisbehere. He might not ever score 65 again.

Is that a huge deal?

“Everyone is going to have some good years — that was one of my better years obviously,” Gostisbehere said. “We have a different supporting cast this year, we have a lot of good guys who can put up some numbers and help our team contribute. It’s a different league where every defenseman has a little offensive instincts. For us, it’s good. The more, the merrier.”

The Flyers’ coaching staff is sticking with Gostisbehere and his power-play role. This season, he is new to head coach Alain Vigneault and assistants Michel Therrien (power play, forwards) and Mike Yeo (penalty kill, defensemen). Vigneault knew of Gostisbehere, though, and is aware of the ability. He would like to see it more.

“I think points are a reward for doing the right things,” Vigneault said. “I’ve seen him come here, have a great camp, really well prepared. A little inconsistency, but a lot of times you see that vision and that passing and that shooting ability — if we could just see it on a more consistent basis, we’d be a better team for it. I know he knows that and he’s trying his best. It’s the same thing with our best players. It’s time to step up and lead the way. In Ghost’s case, he’s one of our top offensive players and he needs to lead the way, also.”

As the coaching staff has worked with Gostisbehere, keeping faith in the power play quarterback, he has noticed.

“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.”

 

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More on the Flyers