The Arizona Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong was very busy during the 2021 offseason. The order of the day was getting as many draft picks as possible, and part of Armstrong’s plan to do that was by acquiring the contracts of overpaid players in exchange for picks. Most players Armstrong traded for had just one year left on their deal, with the most prominent exception being defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere.
Games Played: 82
TOI/Games Played: 22:11
PP TOI: 233:28
PK TOI: 70:04
The Philadelphia Flyers decided to ship Shayne Gostisbehere, a 2022 second-round pick, and a 2022 seventh-round pick. The Flyers decided the $4.5 million in cap space was enough because the Coyotes sent back nothing.
Gostisbehere had a few phenomenal seasons after being drafted, but he hit a roadblock and seemed to be backsliding. He recovered a bit during the 2020-2021 season when he registered nine goals and 11 assists in 41 games, but clearly, the Flyers thought they were selling high.
When the season started, Gostisbehere’s role looked very clear. He was the second pairing defenseman behind Jakob Chychrun’s pairing, which is a pretty good spot to be in if you are an offensive defenseman.
The top pairing usually plays the toughest matchups, letting the second-pairing player slip in and get points against somewhat easier competition. Unfortunately, the injury bug bit the Coyotes hard during the season, and Gostisbehere had to play some tougher minutes as the season went along.
That didn’t stop the Pembroke Pines, FL native from racking up points. Ghost finished fourth on the team with 51 points and had four games where he registered three assists.
Like most players on the team, Gostisbehere did have an issue with consistency last season. He went a few long stretches without registering a point, and his occasional defensive lapses were apparent.
Despite the issues, Gostisbehere finished the season strong with one of his best three-game performances of the season. He finished with a three-game point streak that saw him register three goals and four assists, including a two-goal game against the Nashville Predators and a three-assist night against the Minnesota Wild.
If the Coyotes had paid an asset, either a prospect or a low pick, to acquire Shayne Gostisbehere from the Philadelphia Flyers, they probably would have still won the trade. Gostisbehere was far from perfect, but he put up some serious numbers and played well on a team that was mostly stocked with AHL defensemen by the end of the season. But the fact that the Coyotes got him for free makes him the steal of the century and a feather in the cap of Bill Armstrong.
Shayne Gosistbehere is signed for one more year with a $4.5 million cap hit. The actual amount he will be paid is slightly less than that, though, per CapFriendly, he will be getting $1 million in base pay and a $2.25 million signing bonus.
Gostisbehere had a solid season, but that doesn’t make it easier to predict his future. For one, the Coyotes and Bill Armstrong may decide to flip him while his trade value is relatively high. So why not double down and get more picks for a player you got for free?
Even if the team decides to keep him, there is a lot of uncertainty about the Coyotes’ blue line. Arizona parted ways with assistant coach Phil Housley who ran the defensemen, which means that the team may deploy a new defensive system next season that may or may not fit with Ghost’s style. Additionally, the Coyotes will need to restock their blue line, so who knows who Ghostisbehere will be playing with next season. Either way, Gostisbehere’s future looks bright no matter where he suits up next season.