It’s been a busy week. There have been several significant trades, the sell-off of high-priced assets, and buyouts exercised to clear cap space. Oh yeah, and the 2023 NHL Draft, where all 32 teams added young, exciting talent to their prospect pipelines.
Gostisbehere, 30, finished 13th on our list of the Top 50 Unrestricted Free Agents after an interesting season. He started the year with the Arizona Coyotes, continuing to provide strong offensive production from the back end. His 31 points finished eighth in Coyotes scoring, despite only playing 52 games for the team.
A deadline deal took him from the bottom of the standings to the top, as he joined the Carolina Hurricanes to try and fix a struggling powerplay. In 23 games with Carolina, Gostisbehere added three goals and ten points, posting insane possession numbers in a sheltered role.
That sheltered situation positions Gostisbehere as such an intriguing free agent. He is not a strong defender, and takes too many risks to be trusted as a top-pairing option (at least on a contender). But few defensemen in the league can generate offensive chances as efficiently as him, and he routinely tilts the ice in his team’s favor when played in the right situation.
Since entering the league in 2015, Gostisbehere sits 17th in points from defensemen, ahead of names like Aaron Ekblad, Shea Theodore, and Josh Morrissey. Over that stretch, he ranks even higher in powerplay points, ahead of players like Morgan Rielly and Dougie Hamilton.
There is a role for Gostisbehere on a contending team, but it’s unclear how much teams will want to pay. The six-year, $27MM contract he received from Philadelphia in 2017 is probably out of the question, but it will be interesting to see how much he can secure this time.