After last year’s spectacular rookie campaign for Shayne Gostisbehere, the Philadelphia Flyers expected their star defenseman to take a step forward offensively in 2016-17. At the end of the 2015-16 season, Ghost finished second in Calder voting and almost single-handedly vaulted the Flyers into a playoff spot.
Unfortunately, the same didn’t happen this year.
After coming off an off-season hip surgery, Gostisbehere took a while to regain his form from the previous season.
After netting 17 goals and 29 assists for 46 points in the 64 games in 2015-16, Ghost notched only seven goals and 32 assists for 39 points in 76 games.
Almost 40 points for a defender is nothing to scoff at, but based off Ghost’s production last year, it was almost underwhelming.
Gostisbehere struggled at times this season; he was a healthy scratch and went long portions throughout the season without scoring any goals. But while he failed to score at a better pace than last season, Ghost continued to develop his defensive game. He had a Corsi for of 62.4% and a Fenwick for of 62.3%, both of which are better than last year’s Corsi and Fenwick 59.4% and 59.6%, respectively.
At times, it was evident that Ghost was struggling to find his defensive game, causing his offensive game to suffer as a result. The effect was Dave Hakstol to scratching Ghost a handful of times during the season.
But by the end of the season, Ghost found his offensive game again scoring eight points in his final eight games, 20.5% of his total points for the season, when the Flyers were playing some great hockey.
If Ghost can continue to grow his defensive game while carrying his offensive game over from the end of this season he will continue to grow and develop into one of the Flyers’ best blueliners, perhaps, in franchise history.
Overall Grade: B-
[All stats provided by www.hockey-reference.com]