The NHL recently released their nominees for the Calder Memorial trophy; given to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition in the National Hockey League (NHL). This year, the players selected were Artemi Panarin (CHI), Connor McDavid (EDM) and Shayne Gostisbehere (PHI). In this article, I will share my thoughts on why I believe Shayne Gostisbehere should be the winner of the Calder.
Let’s back track a little.
In 2011, Shayne Gostisbehere started playing for the Union Dutchmen at Union College. He played in the NCAA Men’s Division I League, in the ECAC (Eastern College Athletic Conference). He was on the 2013-2014 ECAC All-Conference First team. In 2014, Union College went on to win the national title against the Minnesota Golden Gophers by a score of 7-4, a game in which Gostisbehere had 3 points and a +7.
It was shortly after that performance that the Philadelphia Flyers signed Gostisbehere to an entry-level contract. He was drafted 3rd round (78th overall) in the 2012 NHL entry draft. He was ready to start playing professional hockey in the AHL for the Adirondack (now Lehigh Valley) Phantoms. He played the final 2 games of the season and recorded no points.
Gostisbehere worked hard in the summer to get ready for a full season in the AHL. When the time finally came to show what he was made of, Gostisbehere tore his ACL after only 5 games with the Phantoms. He had put up 5 assists in those games. Needless to say, this was a huge killer for the young prospect. An ACL tear is usually the kind of injury that can really set back a players career and some never fully recover.
What did the future hold for Ghost?
After a full season of recovering from his injury, Gostisbehere came into training camp without any high expectations, but he looked good on the ice. The Flyers had a lot of focus for their newly drafted studs Ivan Provorov and Travis Konecny.
Gostisbehere started the season in the AHL, as expected, and was getting along great. He had 10 points (2-8-10) in 14 games. However, an unfortunate injury to Mark Streit forced general manager Ron Hextall to call up the youngster.
Flyers notes: Gostisbehere and Leier called up; Streit out six weeks https://t.co/W7tW9h9I09
— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) November 15, 2015
Until Gostisbehere was called up on November 14th to play against the Hurricanes, the Flyers were 5-8-3 and had a weak 5% chance of making the playoffs.
On that night, Gostisbehere recorded his first NHL point on a game-tying assist to Wayne Simmonds. Three days later he scored his first NHL goal against Jonathan Quick and the Los Angeles Kings.
After that, he could not be stopped.
On February 13th, he was on a 10-game point streak and was 1 point short of beating out Barry Beck for longest point streak by a rookie defenseman. He scored against the Devils and claimed that title, setting an NHL record.
Shortly after that, Gostisbehere extended his point streak to 15 games with an overtime goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs, making him the first rookie in NHL history to score 4 overtime goals in a season.
Gostisbehere has phenomenal hockey IQ, he knows when to jump into the play and he can make opposing teams pay the price. He has a cannon of a shot and his defensive side is VERY underrated. Here are some examples:
Shayne Gostisbehere can fly. Another great defensive play by the rookie. pic.twitter.com/7njCO2Re8m
— Sons of Penn (@SonsofPenn) March 6, 2016
What a defensive play by Shayne Gostisbehere. pic.twitter.com/ZAWzjqxS5G
— Sons of Penn (@SonsofPenn) April 23, 2016
Let’s get real about Shayne Gostisbehere for a minute. This is great defense. First at the OZ line, then at his line https://t.co/pXra6BXy8j
— Bob Roberts (@BobRbrts) November 24, 2015
Gostisbehere appears out of nowhere to dive and breakup the play. pic.twitter.com/lP1rbQGJtB
— Sons of Penn (@SonsofPenn) April 23, 2016
So for those who don’t believe Shayne Gostisbehere can play defense due to his size, those are a minuscule sample of what Flyers fans have been witnessing all season. He is phenomenal at both ends of the ice.
His offensive statistics speak for themselves, he is a real game changer and a threat on the ice at all times. Coming into the NHL as a rookie defenseman is an extremely difficult challenge, especially at the speed the game is played at. It is a hard adjustment, especially when coming off an ACL injury.
With all due respect to Artemi Panarin and Connor McDavid, as well as Edmonton and Chicago fans, I believe Shayne Gostisbehere is the best candidate for this trophy.
Brandon Murphy – @2murphy8