The sophomore slump. A term more commonly used in the record industry describing an age-old tale where a band or artist hits the bigtime with their debut album, and flops on their next record. Sound familiar?

If you answered “yes” with a hint of pessimistic undertone in your voice, fear not! Shayne Gostisbehere is ready to showcase his offensive talents once again for the 2017-18 season…. and beyond. Shayne Gostisbehere received right hip and bilateral lower abdominal procedures in the offseason. The hip surgeries were performed Dr. Eric Kropf and the abdominal surgeries by Dr. William Meyers, both were successful surgeries.

Gostisbehere has since spoken out publicly about the hindrance of the problems on the ice last season. Even in the midst of any and all physical challenges it may have presented, Gostisbehere still took full responsibility for what was a rather disappointing season in contrast to his 2015-16 rookie campaign,  when he scored 17 goals and 29 assists and was a Calder Memorial Trophy finalist in 2016.

So the $27 million question is, what went wrong last season? Dropping from a 11.2% shooting percentage in his rookie season down to a disappointing 3.2% in 2016-17, it’s clear as to why Ghost’s point production slumped to end the Flyers’ lackluster regular season with only 7 goals and 32 assists, totaling 39 points. Taking into account, Ghost was forced to sit in the press box for five games last season, three of which were back to backs in early February during a desperate push for a final playoff spot in the Metropolitan division. Still, despite the poor point production, were we expecting too much from the 24-year-old defenseman? Was his rookie campaign a simple game of luck?

Ghost’s offensive eye may have (at some key points last season) proved to be bigger than his defensive obligations to the blueline, but certainly not beyond his capabilities as a talented puck possessor, nor his creativity with his on-ice awareness and trigger happy point shooting and his power play point production which actually improved in his second season with the Flyers despite his goal totals dropping significantly in contrast to his rookie season.

While Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol has publicly praised Ghost’s offensive awareness capping the disappointing 2016-17 regular season, he’s also shed light on the lack of defensive responsibilities in the Flyers’ defensive and neutral zones. Despite it all, the Flyers front office never lost faith in Ghost’s past, present, and future contributions to the club by extending his contract on June 9, when Gostisbehere signed a a six-year, $27 million deal with the Flyers, worth $4.5 million a season.

It’s safe to say the sophomore slump is now in the books, and Gostisbehere is ready to get back to work on and off the ice for a bounce back season with the Flyers. What are we to expect from Ghost to start a new season bursting with so much optimism surrounding the 2nd overall pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, and a prospect system that was just rated tops in the NHL? Well, fix what was broken.

If Ghost can grow into a more mature and responsible blueliner aware of his defensive responsibilities in his own zone while still being the offensive threat he’s proven he can be, he will not only continue to be one of the most exciting defensive players in the league to watch, but more importantly and hopefully, a key component to a successful advancement to the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Shayne Gostisbehere is now healthy, secured in his role on this team, and focused on proving he’s worth his brand new contract.

 

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