Flyers prospect Shayne Gostisbehere working on the little things

Posted: July 18, 2013

SHAYNE Gostisbehere is not usually the biggest guy on the ice and he has never gotten in a fight, but he has earned a reputation of a guy you might not want to mess with.

Gostisbehere was selected by the Flyers in the third round of the 2012 NHL draft after spending his freshman year at Union College. He returned to the Dutchmen last season and plans to return for his junior and senior seasons, as well.

During the offseason, Gostisbehere is focusing on gaining weight and filling out without losing his speed, quickness and agility. This summer, the 20-year-old defenseman said that he has gained 10 pounds and that the Flyers would like to see him gain another 10. Right now, he is 5-11, 170 pounds, but thinks his size is no reason for players to pick on him.

"Just because I am a little guy doesn't mean guys can pick on me," Gostisbehere said at the Flyers' recent development camp for prospects. "I'll have guys on my team that can take care of those guys, but I like to take care of myself sometimes. Not saying I'm a big fighter, but I'm not going to take any crap from anyone."

Gostisbehere made it known in the most recent World Junior Championships that he would not let anybody push him around on the ice. He was ejected in the USA's 9-3 victory over Slovakia last New Year's Eve after striking Matus Matis in the groin. He was handed a one-game suspension following the misconduct.

"I just saw red, and something snapped in me, and I really haven't ever seen that in myself before, and other people haven't seen that in my game, either," Gostisbehere said. "My stick just kind of floated up there, I guess."

A native of Margate, Fla., Gostisbehere said he never had trouble finding ice to skate on, as a top-notch rink was only 10 minutes from his home. Although he acknowledges he is a Florida Panthers fan, Gostisbehere added that it was an honor to be drafted by an organization with a history as rich as the Flyers'.

After two seasons with Union College, Gostisbehere has tallied 13 goals and 35 assists in 77 games. In his first seasons with the program, he was a major factor in the Dutchmen's runs to the 2012 Frozen Four and 2013 East Regional finals.

"It was a quick learning process when I got to [Union College]," Gostisbehere said. "I didn't touch the offensive side of my game, but they definitely polished off the defensive side of my game and they helped me a lot. You play with guys that are 23 to 24 years old, and you have to put all your effort in each day."

Gostisbehere entered his second straight year of Flyers' development camp on Sunday, and his progress was monitored by John Paddock, the Flyers' player personnel director.

"He has a really, really good skill package. He went from being drafted last year to opening some eyes and now making the world junior team," Paddock said. "He is a highly skilled guy. A lot of people are going to say that he is small, and, well, he is, but when you have the right mix, it doesn't really make a difference, and I guess the right mix is size. His skill level around other players is going to make a team better."

At the collegiate level, players are not allowed to fight on ice. While Gostisbehere has had his fair share of arguments and encounters, he said he has never been in a fight, but thinks that will come once he advances to the next level. For the time being, he will stick to what he is best at, shutting down offenses, while also contributing offensively.

"I'm an offensive defenseman, and I'm no slouch on defense, either," Gostisbehere said. "I got that little snot, I guess that little Flyer in me, but definitely my offensive side is my best attribute."

While Gostisbehere thinks he is still a couple of years away from putting on a Flyers uniform, he said he would need to consider his options if Philadelphia were to offer him a contract this season.

"I would definitely be tempted to sign," he said, "but I made a commitment to 4 years with Union College and my coach, Rick Bennett, and that is what I intend to do."


On Twitter: @JohnMurrow12

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