The Seattle Kraken will have quite a few big decisions for themselves at next month’s Expansion Draft. They won’t be the only team impacted by the draft, however, as 30 NHL teams will lose a player to Seattle. The Philadelphia Flyers are one of the teams that may be impacted more than others by the NHL Expansion Draft.
On Monday, we looked at how the Expansion Draft could weigh heavily on the Flyers in more ways than one. They’ll be losing a player to Seattle and it could also mark the start of a busy period of offseason activity.
The Flyers only have a handful of players that seem like realistic possibilities to be exposed and selected by the Kraken in the expansion draft. This week, we’ll go through them (alphabetically) and look at a variety of things around the player.
Next up is Shayne Gostisbehere, who seems to be a forgotten option for the Kraken.
Why the Seattle Kraken will select Shayne Gostisbehere
Shayne Gostisbehere’s rookie season made him a household name for hockey fans. He burst onto the scene with 46 points (17 goals, 29 assists) in 64 games, including a record-setting 15-game point streak. He was named to the All-Rookie Team and finished second place in Calder Trophy voting.
Gostisbehere has been up and down since then, but he still has the skills to work in the right role. Seattle may want to take a crack at a guy like Gostisbehere as a bottom-four defenseman and power-play specialist. Those aren’t too easy to find in this league.
Gostisbehere, 28, has a $4.5 million cap hit through the end of the 2022-23 season. He cleared waivers during the season, which may have been due to in-season issues with the flat cap, and the Flyers have been rather open about wanting to move him.
An added plus that Gostisbehere has is that he can play on both the left and right side. In fact, at times it looks like he’s more comfortable on the right side where he’s able to unleash his slap shot.
A fresh start for Gostisbehere in Seattle could unlock his offensive potential again. The analytically-inclined Kraken may be a good fit for Gostisbehere.
Why the Seattle Kraken won’t select Shane Gostisbehere
Shayne Gostisbehere is on the decline. There is no doubt about that. He is far removed from his outstanding rookie campaign as well as his 65-point season in 2017-18.
Gostisbehere had 20 points (nine goals, 11 assists) in 41 games this past season. That was actually a good bit higher than his 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in 42 games in the 2019-20 season.
Gostisbehere went through a lot of adversity this year between COVID-19, benchings, and going through waivers. The Kraken could view that as a negative or a positive.
The Kraken may want to steer clear of a declining defenseman that cleared waivers this season. On top of that, the Flyers will likely have better players exposed to Seattle that the Kraken will want to snatch up.
The impact on the Flyers if Gostisbehere gets selected
Seattle selecting Gostisbehere may actually be doing the Flyers a favor.
Gostisbehere has fallen out of the good graces in Philadelphia over the past few years. He was on the trade block last offseason and put on waivers this season. While he can still be effective in the right role, that role might not be here for him in Philadelphia.
Gostisbehere is prepared for whatever is thrown his way.
“The expansion draft is gonna happen. If you get picked, you’re wanted and you could definitely take positives from that. But, it definitely weighs on your mind to answer your question. But I think just as a in general, you’ve just got to go and put your best foot forward, go into the summer, and do what you can do to control,” he said during his exit interview.
The Flyers will just need to ramp up their search for defensemen help even more if Gostisbehere gets selected. They’ll have $4.5 million more in cap space to do that with if Seattle does take Gostisbehere.
Will the Seattle Kraken select Shayne Gostisbehere?
It won’t be shocking if the Kraken select Gostisbehere. They have a chance to build a team from the ground up and put their players in the best position to succeed. If the Kraken draft a few defensemen that are reliable defensively, Gostisbehere could pair nicely with him.
Ultimately, however, I still see Seattle selecting one of the Flyers’ big-name players. Gostisbehere is probably their No. 2 or 3 option but could be selected if the Flyers add a sweetener or if Seattle wants an offensive-minded defenseman.
To give it a percentage, I’d put Gostisbehere in the 10-20% range –– similar to Aube-Kubel.
Photo: Heather Barry Images