The Flyers top defensive prospect Shayne Gostisbehere may or may not be shut down for the whole season, but as the front runner for a permanent spot next season among the defensive prospects, he is still an integral, valuable part of what the Flyers have for the 2015-16 season.
Gostisbehere hasn’t played much this season due to a knee injury, but we can still project him based on a solid sampled of NCAA work. The projection for the ECAC is very similar to a QMJHL or WHL player entering the NHL. In fact, despite popular opinion, NCAA players can in fact, hold their own with their Major Junior counterparts.
Gostisbehere’s role as a puck mover means he’ll be expected to score at the NHL level too, which means hopefully this model holds true. He had .81 points per game at Union his last season there which projects to .2 points per game in the NHL or 16 points a season.
This actually, probably undercuts, what Ghost is capable of in the NHL. At Union, Gostisbehere was the team’s best defender by far and forced to log the tough minutes as well as the easy ones. In the NHL, Ghost will see PP time and the Flyers will probably ask Streit, Schultz and others to log the big minutes early on. Ideally, Gostisbehere follows the career path of Matt Niskanen.
Niskanen had a similar projection out of the WCHA, developed into a higher tier puck moving defender.
And Niskanen is pretty good. The groundwork is there for Gostisbehere to be a top pair defender. Hopefully his knee holds up.