Shayne Gostisbehere was traded to the Arizona Coyotes by the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday for future considerations.
The Coyotes also received a second-round and a seventh-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft.
“A lot of emotions going into it,” Gostisbehere said. “I had been in Philadelphia my whole career, been here seven, eight years now. … I’m really excited for the opportunity, a fresh start for myself.”
The 28-year-old defenseman scored 20 points (nine goals, 11 assists) and averaged 19:56 of ice time in 41 games this season.
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“He’s a really exciting player for us,” Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong said. “We’ve been in touch with [Philadelphia] probably since the beginning of the year about him, and just the thought process, we might have a chance to acquire him. For me, he’s somebody that can really run a power play from up top, he’s got a great shot, he just finds ways to get it through, his first pass coming out of the zone. He gives us something we don’t have, and that’s a really good puck-mover back there on the back side, and that’s one of his strengths.
“He’s had some up and down years, he’s battled through injury. For me, just doing my homework on him, I feel it’s someone that really has matured and just has taken another step as far as working out and always improving and trying to get better, so we’re really excited about the player and feel that he’s a great fit for us.”
Selected by Philadelphia in the third round (No. 78) of the 2012 NHL Draft, Gostisbehere is fifth among Philadelphia defensemen in history with 219 points (60 goals, 159 assists) in 381 games. He has scored five points (two goals, three assists) in 17 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
“I don’t know what my role will be,” Gostisbehere said. “I’m an offensive guy, I like to push the pace of play, I like to jump up in the play as well. I’m a puck-moving defenseman and I help a lot with transition play. I’m obviously a special-teams guy, the power play. I’d just like you to know that I’m a pretty good defenseman too. The biggest aspect for me is two-way play, I want to be reliable in both ends.
“From the past seasons, I have a chip on my shoulder in the sense of I haven’t really shown what I can be injury-wise and playing-wise. I think for me it’s a fresh start.”
In 2015-16, Gostisbehere led rookie defensemen with 46 points (17 goals, 29 assists) and was second in voting for the Calder Trophy as NHL rookie of the year, behind Chicago Blackhawks forward Artemi Panarin (now with the New York Rangers). Gostisbehere also had a 15-game point streak from Jan. 19-Feb. 20, 2016, the longest by a rookie defenseman in NHL history.
“He’s only 28,” Armstrong said. “Forwards peak when they’re 24 and defensemen are later, so I feel that he’s only starting. I think you’re first coming to the league, you come in like gangbusters and then you realize it’s work and people start figuring you out and it’s easy to get out of the game quickly.
“But the guys that stay around and perfect it and really work at their game survive, and I think he’s one of those guys that’s not only going to survive, but he’s going to take it to the next level.”
Gostisbehere has two seasons remaining on a six-year contract he signed with the Flyers on June 9, 2017. He was left unprotected in the 2021 Expansion Draft on Wednesday that stocked the initial roster of the Seattle Kraken, who selected forward Carsen Twarynski from Philadelphia.
“Shayne played really well for us not just last year but for many years,” Philadelphia general manager Chuck Fletcher said Thursday. “He was a model citizen … he’s a true professional, he was a very good Flyer, so I really want to thank him for that. But our reality was pretty simple when you factor in the expected raises that [defenseman Travis] Sanheim and (goalie) Carter Hart will receive and we very much want to sign those two players (who are each a restricted free agent). We didn’t have a lot of [NHL salary cap] space left to fill the holes we needed to fill, so we made the move we had to make.
“Shayne didn’t have a lot to say. He was professional. We just thanked each other. I’m sure anytime you get that call … I don’t know that it was unexpected. We’ve had a lot of conversations over the years, and when Shayne wasn’t playing as much, about maybe trying to find [him] a better opportunity. He loved it here, and yet I think Arizona is excited to get him and I’ll let them speak to it, but sounds like he’ll have an opportunity to have a bigger role there than potentially he would have had here.”
The Flyers acquired defenseman Ryan Ellis in a trade with the Nashville Predators on July 17, for defenseman Philippe Myers and center Nolan Patrick.
“The last three years, if you’re judging by that, I battled through a lot of injuries, injuries that hampered my ability to play the way that I play,” Gostisbehere said. “Last year, I think I took the next step in leaving those injuries in the past and moving forward. For how tough of a season we had, individually I think I had a real good season and it’s something for me to springboard from. Going into a fresh start with the Coyotes, still feels really weird to say that, but it’s exciting. I’m really excited for the opportunity and do whatever I can to help the team win.”
NHL.com deputy managing editor Adam Kimelman contributed to this report