Shayne Gostisbehere’s electric rookie season was something special to witness.
It seemed like the kid could do almost no wrong on his way to a 17-goal, 46-point season and a second-place finish in voting for the Calder Trophy. Although it was his flashy skillset and talents that led the charge, luck was definitely on his side as a lot of bounces seemed to go his way.
Last season was pretty much the opposite.
Gostisbehere finished with just seven goals and 39 points in eight more games in his sophomore campaign. He struggled at times and was even the brunt of a few developmentally-founded healthy scratches by head coach Dave Hakstol. The luck wasn’t there, and it was a little bit of an uphill battle for the 24-year-old defenseman last season.
“There was a huge learning curve for me. I know my rookie season was a great season but I think everything that possibly could’ve gone right, went right that year,” Gostisbehere said on NHL Network this week. “Obviously I didn’t get the bounces last year, per se, but towards the end of the year, taking the healthy scratches and everything.. [you just] sit back and just get better as a player and as a person too, on and off the ice. I think I’ll be ready for my third year.”
In typical Gostisbehere fashion, he flipped a negative situation on its head and is using it as a motivator.
“I believe it humbled me a bit and I realized I’m going to work just as hard. I think that’s something that really stuck with me this summer and when I go to the rink everyday I put 110% in and I think it’s going to give me a good platform for this season.”
Of course, last offseason was a completely different beast for Ghost.
He spent most of it rigorously rehabbing after having an abdominal/groin surgery early in the offseason and, despite blowing off notions that the injury was a factor in his struggles, didn’t get back to full strength and speed until midway through the season.
This summer, though, Gostisbehere is fully healthy and training hard in preparation for the fall.
“I think just consistency. I had a different summer last year than this summer. Last summer I was going through some hectic rehab and stuff, and this year I got to have a great summer of training and taking care of my body and I think that’s the biggest thing for me,” Gostisbehere said. “I really have no excuses here, I should have a great year, and that’s what I’m looking forward to.”
Ghost has spent most of the summer home here in Philadelphia, where his heart, his girlfriend and his two pups reside.
“I think it’s just about having fun here in Philly. It’s a great town, great people, and of course great fans.”
While Gostisbehere himself seems ready to kick off training camp and the upcoming season, the Flyers will have a much different look than last year with at least one or two new forwards, at least two new defenseman and at least one new goaltender in the lineup.
What do they need to do to avoid missing the playoffs again this season? Shayne says winning early in the season is the best place to start.
“I think the biggest thing for us, and what we really realized last year was getting off to a good start. When you’re playing games in October and you’re losing games when you should’ve won, those come back to haunt you and I think that’s something we realized towards the end of the year when we were fighting for a spot,” Gostisbehere said. “We had 10 games left and had to win every single one. We don’t want to put our backs up against the wall. We’re just going to focus on a good start.”
The Flyers will hold training camp in the first week of September as hockey’s beautiful sights and sounds are creeping closer and closer on the calendar.
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