Flyers

Shayne Gostisbehere stunned by mass shooting at his old high school

Shayne Gostisbehere stunned by mass shooting at his old high school

VOORHEES, N.J. — Shayne Gostisbehere was stunned after hearing the news and watching the images of the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida.

It was all too recognizable and too disturbing at the same time.

“I would say it always hits close to home, but when it’s your home, it’s pretty tough to see,” Gostisbehere said Thursday. “I haven’t really processed it yet and I still can’t believe it. I was just in that school. I was only there for two years. I felt safe at that school every day I was there. Just to see something like that happen to those kids and those teachers, it sucks.”

Born in nearby Pembroke Pines, Florida, Gostisbehere attended Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, where 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle and killed 17 people while wounding another 14 Wednesday afternoon. 

“One of my buddies texted me there was a shooting, and my girlfriend and I turned on whatever news station was on at the time, it sucks to see,” Gostisbehere said. “Those were the hallways you walked at one time before. It’s a tragic event, a tragic day.”

Gostisbehere spent his freshman and sophomore years from 2007-09 at Douglas High School before continuing his education and his hockey career at South Kent School in South Kent, Connecticut, roughly 30 miles from Sandy Hook Elementary, where 20-year-old Adam Lanza fatally shot 20 children and another six adult staff members on Dec. 14, 2012.

"It definitely sucks to see," he said. "You turn on the news and it's your high school you went to. Obviously, it’s a tragic event. Things keep happening. It just sucks."

Gostisbehere also knew football coach Aaron Feis rather fondly. Feis was one of those who died from a gunshot after throwing himself in the line of fire to protect the lives of innocent children. 

“He was always a great guy. He was always nice to me when I was there,” Gostisbehere said. “Obviously, it really shows his character of what he did in that time of panic and emergency — to put himself on the line for others. Obviously, he’s the true hero and the guy we need to focus on rather than the actual suspect.”

Even more mind-boggling for Gostisbehere is how an affluent, family-oriented community such as Parkland could be the site of one of the deadliest mass school shootings in our nation’s history. Considered a serene, wooded suburb of Fort Lauderdale, the population of Parkland has more than doubled since 2000. The National Council for Home Safety and Security had even ranked Parkland at the top of its 2017 list of Florida’s safest cities.

“My grandparents live a mile away from the school. I lived 10 minutes away," Gostisbehere said. "It’s a tough time. It was just voted the safest city in Florida last year and to see a tragic event like that is a shock right now.”

Following Thursday’s practice, Gostisbehere and the Flyers left for Columbus for Friday’s game against the Blue Jackets. The next home game is scheduled for Tuesday and the Wells Fargo Center is expected to have a moment of silence in recognition of those who lost their lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School prior to the team’s game with the Montreal Canadiens.

2018 NHL draft profile: Jack McBain, a big center with something to prove

2018 NHL draft profile: Jack McBain, a big center with something to prove

Over the weeks leading up to the 2018 NHL draft, we're providing prospect profiles and how they would fit with the Flyers, who have two first-round picks — Nos. 14 and 19.

The NHL draft takes place June 22-23 at American Airlines Center in Dallas. The Flyers have nine picks with two in the first, fifth and seventh rounds and one in the second, fourth and sixth. They do not own a third-rounder as it went to the Detroit Red Wings for Petr Mrazek. The 14th pick conveyed from the Brayden Schenn trade. The final details were Schenn to the St. Louis Blues for Jori Lehtera, a 2017 first-round pick (Morgan Frost) and the 14th pick.

Our prospect profiles will touch mostly on prospects projected to go in the 10-20 range but some may require the Flyers having to trade up to select. We’ll identify those prospects.

Jack McBain

Position: Center
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 195
Shoots: Left
Team: Toronto Jr. Canadiens

Scouting report
If you watch tape of McBain, you immediately have to keep in mind that he’s played his teenage hockey in the Ontario Junior Hockey League, where he was physically an overpowering player against lesser competition. 

McBain was drafted by the Barrie Colts of the OHL, but elected to keep his amateur status intact, which will allow him to attend Boston College next fall. That’s when we should receive a real gauge of where his skills stack up playing in the NCAA Hockey East Conference.

A big-bodied center, McBain isn’t the most elusive skater, nor is he the most creative playmaker. He plays more of a north-south game but doesn’t back down from the high-traffic areas. He prefers to use his big frame to overpower opponents and works well down in the trenches.

Surprisingly, he’s a solid puck handler, but again, a lot of those plays looked easy for him against smaller, inferior competition. 

He plays with a long stick, which enables him to be disruptive while getting that stick into a lot of passing lanes and using his reach effectively on the backcheck. 

As the best player on the ice, he probably tries to do too much, but he doesn’t back down and he’s very assertive. There doesn’t appear to be much hesitation in his game. It’s obvious McBain has the frame and the tools to be a future NHL player. 

Fit with Flyers
Interestingly, McBain knows what it’s like to play with the Flyers crest on his sweater. Before joining the Toronto Junior Canadiens, McBain was a member of the Don Mills Flyers minor-midget AAA team in Canada. 

McBain is a player the Flyers can snag with their second-round selection (50th overall). I just don’t project him going higher considering he has never played major junior hockey.

If you look within the farm system, the Flyers don’t have very many big-bodied centers within the organization and McBain could certainly help fill that void. However, he’s also the type of big-bodied player that could effectively transition to left wing if he can’t handle the responsibilities of playing down the middle.

If McBain can successfully make the jump to college hockey, the Flyers could have a second-round pick with first-round talent.

More on the 2018 NHL draft

Profile: Rasmus Sandin

• Profile: Ryan Merkley 

• Profile: Dominik Bokk

• Profile: Noah Dobson

• Profile: Rasmus Kupari

• Profile: Martin Kaut

• Profile: Grigori Denisenko

• Profile: Jesperi Kotkaniemi

• Profile: Serron Noel

• Profile: Joel Farabee

• Profile: Barrett Hayton

• Profile: Isac Lundestrom

• Profile: Joseph Veleno

• Profile: Vitali Kravtsov

How much will Flyers change? Another summer is here for Ron Hextall

How much will Flyers change? Another summer is here for Ron Hextall

This is a peculiar time for Ron Hextall.

In one facet, it's his time, precious for a build-from-within disciple who must feel like a kid on Christmas when the NHL draft arrives.

Then again, it's a weird time. Shortly after the Flyers' general manager unwraps his gifts and adds them to the toy bin, NHL free agency hits. Not a time when Hextall likes to play. Quickly, Christmas turns into the first day of school.

It's that time of year again for Hextall. The question is, have the times changed for the GM?

With the Flyers entering Year 4 under Dave Hakstol and looking to take the next step forward, some wonder if Hextall is ready to make free agency his new time. After all, much of the organization's youth is here and contributing, the core isn't getting any younger and the Flyers have more financial wiggle room — thanks to Hextall — with $17.2 million in cap space, according to CapFriendly.com.

But if Hextall's vision was ever in danger of shifting, an expansion team's marvelous story lent credence to his plan, reinforcing the belief in the way he operates and constructs his own hockey team.

When asked Thursday about the constant chatter regarding his core's clock and the team's youthfulness catching up to it, Hextall spoke with conviction and at length.

"They might have different roles; you almost might not depend on them quite as much because your younger guys are coming up and taking a bigger piece of the pie," Hextall said. "So all of a sudden you don't need one guy scoring 85 points, he can score 75 points or 70 points because we've got these kids coming up that are scoring more and more. 

"That's how you build a team. You don't build a team by having three top players and they go out every power play and they win you games. It's just not the way it works. You saw — Vegas is a good example. They were the best team in the league. Not the best talent, they were the best team. Teams still win. Teams still win. And that's what we've got to continue to build."

So if you were hoping Hextall was tinkering with the thought of making a free-agent splash, think again. He will stick to his guns and always has, constantly stressing the importance of never deviating from the course set at the journey's start.

None of which is to think Hextall won't utilize free agency to improve. He will make additions strategically and judiciously, but doling out money and years to a stud won't happen.

And the moment Hextall reaffirmed his M.O., the pressure picked up.

On all levels.

On Hextall's faith in Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek and the mainstays delivering star-like production.

On the young foundation pieces taking heftier strides to lighten the loads for the veterans.

On the scouting and development personnel finding and molding game-changing talent.

And on the confluence of Hextall's motives and ultimate goal.

"We are still the ultimate team sport and I think Vegas proved that to all of us this year. The more we move along here, the more society, pro sports seem to put a spotlight on a star, and that's fine, but that star has got to have his teammates in our sport or you're not going to win," Hextall said. "You look at Washington, they had a lot of really good players in the playoffs. Devante Smith-Pelly. Do they win without Devante Smith-Pelly? A couple guys get all the credit but look what this guy did. We are still the ultimate team sport, we really are."

The ultimate test will be the Flyers proving it themselves.

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