Shayne Gostisbehere is one of the young defensemen that has the potential to make the Philadelphia Flyers’ blueline a significant strength in a few years, but first he will be spending more time in the minors.
The Philadelphia Flyers announced this morning that Gostisbehere has been cut from their training camp roster along with fellow blueliner Robert Hagg and forward Nick Cousins.
Gostisbehere scored three goals in three preseason games, but those exhibition contests weren’t all good for the 22-year-old. On the defensive side of things, Flyers coach Dave Hakstol felt Gostisbehere showed “some good and some bad along the way. I think he’ll tell you the same thing. There are things he’s learning every day,” per the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Even looking past that, sending Gostisbehere to the minors might do him some good as he was limited to just seven AHL/NHL games last season due to a torn ACL.
It’s also worth emphasizing that Philadelphia has eight defensemen signed to one-way contracts, so Gostisbehere always faced an uphill battle.
Cousins, 22, is coming off of a strong AHL campaign and might be one of the first forwards Philadelphia calls upon in the event of an injury. As for Hagg, 20, 2014-15 was his first full season in North America after making the transition from Sweden.
The Flyers’ camp roster is down to 32 players.
Marek Zidlicky isn’t making any definitive decisions, but for now it sounds like this season could be his swan song.
“I’m happy I can play one more year and we’ll see after that what happens,” Zidlicky said, per The Record. “I said right away after the season it could be possible I will retire or we will see. You never know. It’s tough for everybody. It doesn’t matter if you are 38 or 28. That’s the business right now.”
Having said all that, the 38-year-old defenseman is looking at the 2015-16 campaign as his “last chance.”
Sure there are cases of players staying competitive into their 40s — Jaromir Jagr being the most obvious recent example — but Zidlicky views the future Hall of Famer and fellow Czech player as different from him.
Zidlicky and Jagr played together with the New Jersey Devils for parts of two seasons, but were both involved in separate trades during the 2014-15 campaign. Zidlicky spent the summer enduring a particularly tough UFA market, but he signed a one-year deal with the New York Islanders on Sept. 18.
At his age, Zidlicky will still probably be leaned on during power-play situations, but he might see his role diminish in other situations.
There’s no clear spot in the Philadelphia Flyers’ lineup for Brayden Schenn right now, but while the debate about his future continues, he’s been setting himself apart in the preseason.
On Friday Schenn scored his third goal in three exhibition contests:
Plays like that might not be enough to firm up his position with Philadelphia though.
“He’s scored each night, but that’s probably not the best way to evaluate the total performance,” Flyers coach Dave Hakstol told CSN Philly. “There’s some areas that he can become more complete in.
“It’s not an easy role playing your off-side when you’re coming out of your own end and when you’re getting squeezed in the neutral zone. So, those are things that I think any player playing in his off-wing has to grow into a little bit and no different with Brayden.”
Schenn played alongside Nick Cousins and Chris Porter tonight in what can be regarded as the team’s fifth line consisting of players trying to claw their way on to the roster. Scott Laughton, who got Friday night off, can be counted in that group too and is notable among them because Flyers GM Ron Hextall praised his work ethic and said Laughton’s made “good impression.”
Contrast that to Hextall’s statement on Thursday that Schenn has “been OK.”
Related: You can welcome Luke Schenn to the trade rumor mill, too
Vince Dunn has returned to OHL Niagara, but his time in the St. Louis Blues’ training camp wasn’t fruitless.
The Blues announced that they have signed the 18-year-old defenseman to a three-year, entry-level contract. He was taken with the 56th overall pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.
“(Dunn) can really skate,” said Blues Director of Amateur Scouting Bill Armstrong back in June, per the Belleville News-Democrat. “He probably has characteristics of playing like (Chicago defenseman Brent) Seabrook with his skating and his compete and skill level. He’s obviously got a lot of strength to gain and a lot of work to do in the gym. He’s got to push himself in the gym, but the talent and compete level is what we really like.”
Dunn sees himself as an offensive defenseman and someone who can quarterback the power play. He had 18 goals, 56 points, and 59 penalty minutes in 68 OHL contests last season.
After failing to secure a contract on the unrestricted free agent market this summer, it seems forward James Sheppard’s attempt to fight his way on to Columbus as a training camp tryout hasn’t worked out either. He was among the 14 players that the Blue Jackets’ cut from their training camp roster, per the team’s website.
Although he had other PTO offers, Sheppard joined the Blue Jackets’ camp despite the fact that Columbus already had 11 forwards inked to one-way contracts, not including Alexander Wennberg or Boone Jenner.
“This, to me, is a unique situation happening right now in Columbus,” Sheppard told the Columbus Dispatch last week. He added, “The real superstars are just starting to emerge, with Foligno and Johansen, guys like that. But there’s not a name on this team that can’t be a top player.”
The 27-year-old is a veteran of 394 NHL games with Minnesota, San Jose, and the New York Rangers. He had 18 points in 71 contests last season.
This latest round of cuts also marked the end of camp for notable prospects Oliver Bjorkstrand and Sonny Milano. Bjorkstrand is coming off of back-to-back 100-plus point campaigns with WHL Portland while Milano was the 16th overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.
Kerby Rychel has managed to survive the latest round of cuts though. The highly regarded 20-year-old forward played in five games with Columbus last season and recorded three assists.
Columbus has 35 players left in the camp.