Shayne Gostisbehere made it through waivers on Wednesday afternoon. But that isn’t the end of the story. With the Flyers willingness to take a chance on losing him, there’s a clear disconnect between the two parties.
Gostisbehere has been in trade rumors before and nothing came to fruition. There was a time where his deal was a team-friendly one. An up and coming defensemen with a $4.5M cap hit? Not a problem. But with two down seasons, the script has flipped.
No team was willing to even take a chance on Gostisbehere without having to give anything up to do so. Well, they might have had to give something up. Most teams were unable to fit Gostisbehere’s hit due to the flat cap the league is facing right now. With his contract on the books for two more seasons after this one, it appeared hard for teams to be willing to commit to that.
The move sent a message to the entire organization. Sending a player on waivers such as Gostisbehere shows the team that big moves could be coming if they don’t figure things out. If Chuck Fletcher wanted his team to know he meant business, he had to do this with a big name.
But what does this mean for said defensemen who was subject to waivers?According to Alain Vigneault, this move was all about roster flexibility. In fact, he stressed that multiple times when asked on Tuesday afternoon.
"“I go back to the 23-man roster and the flexibility that this permits us to do. It permits us to play Shayne or it permits us to have him on the taxi squad and maybe have one or two more options up front or on D.”"
So essentially, Gostisbehere now has the freedom to be sent to the taxi squad is the team decided not to play him. He could be brought back like players such as Sam Morin and Alex Lyon have been on game days. The back and forth movement allows the Flyers to bank cap space that they may be able to use in the future.
Is this a sign that Gostisbehere’s future with the Flyers is coming to an end? It’s possible, but only time will tell on that end. Right now, he is still a part of the organization. He was sent to the taxi squad ahead of Wednesday night’s game. So he will at least miss the team’s next game.
His name will almost certainly float around as we get closer and closer to the April 12th trade deadline.