Photo credit: Amy Irvin (38Photography)
Shayne Gostisbehere needed playing time. Everyone could agree on that. Opinions differed on whether that time should be spent at the AHL or NHL level, though.
The defensive prospect affectionally referred to as Ghost is quickly emerging as one of the Philadelphia Flyers top prospects, if not the top prospect itself. This, alongside of the fact that the defense is banged up, added fuel to the fire that is the desire to see Ghost man the blue line in Philadelphia.
To the dismay of many, the Flyers announced that Gostisbehere had been returned to the Phantoms. It was the right move.
Let’s restate the obvious: Shayne Gostisbehere needs playing time. Certainly, a modicum of that is available in Philadelphia but the opportunities are plentiful just down the turnpike in Allentown as a member of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. The reasons do not stop there either.
As a member of Phantoms, Ghost will have plenty of opportunities to gel with potential future defensive partners and form chemistry with other prospects. AHL times allows him to grow his game and work on his deficits without the concern of it being a detriment to the Flyers. He can also work his way to being the big fish in a smaller pond at a much quicker pace, which will improve his confidence and decrease his decision-making time.
Ghost has the intelligence and maturity to reach his potential. That showed to day when Ron Hextall commented on the d-man’s demotion.
“He was great,” Hextall said, according to NJ.com. “We met with him a couple of hours ago and told him our plan. He might be the first kid I ever dealt with who knows exactly where he’s at as a player and exactly where he needs to be to get better. I’m actually almost taken aback by his understanding.”
Shayne Gostisbehere has an blindingly bright future ahead of him and has the potential to be the first and perhaps the best homegrown defenseman to ever come out of Philadelphia’s system. There is no reason to rush that potential. The risk grossly outweighs the benefits.