March 31: Gostisbehere has cleared waivers and can now be assigned to the taxi squad or AHL.
March 30: The Philadelphia Flyers announced they have placed defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere on waivers. While the career of the blueliner has been derailed in recent years due to injuries and on-ice struggles, Gostisbehere is still young at 27 years and only a few years away from his 65-point season in 2017-18.
With many teams successfully attempting to ease cap concerns by placing large contracts on waivers, this might seem to be something similar with Philadelphia hoping that Gostisbehere’s $4.5MM contract might dissuade most teams from claiming the defenseman. While that still might be the case, there are plenty of teams in desperate need of defensive help and while many of those teams are capped out, it wouldn’t be hard to suggest that a change of scenery away from Philadelphia could alter the career of Gostisbehere.
In fact, Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Philadelphia is trying to free up some cap room to make a major trade, perhaps even hoping a team might claim Gostisbehere.
His big season in 2017-18 (13 goals & 65 points) had many believing at the time that Gostisbehere would develop into a superstar, cornerstone blueliner. Instead, he struggled after that, posting just nine goals and 37 points the following year with injuries affecting his game as well. He scored just five goals and 12 points last season in 42 games and while Gostisbehere has been slightly better this year with five goals and 11 points in 25 games, the defenseman has not been able to come close to the star that Philadelphia thought he would be.
Of course, with the Flyers struggling significantly, which includes almost losing to the hapless Sabres Monday, general manager Chuck Fletcher might also be looking to just shake up the team. Moving out a player like Gostisbehere could send a significant message to the team.
It wouldn’t be unreasonable to think that even non-playoff teams might be interested in Gostisbehere and could claim him. He is still just 27 years old and while he carries a $4.5MM AAV for the next two years, he is only actually drawing $3.25MM in salary. That could be attractive to teams like Ottawa, Buffalo, Detroit and the Los Angeles Kings who have the cap space to bring in Gostisbehere. Another possibility could be the Florida Panthers, who are in need of defensive help after the injury to Aaron Ekblad. In fact, Gostisbehere is from Pembroke Pines, Florida, not far from the Panthers’ home.
Any team interested in claiming him would have be required to have $1.525MM in projected cap space or $4.5MM in salary pool relief for clubs currently in LTIR, according to CapFriendly.