PHILADELPHIA – Shayne Gostisbehere enjoyed his time with the Flyers but the defenseman is ready to move on to a new chapter with the Arizona Coyotes.
“Obviously being here for seven or eight years, it was awesome,’’ Gostisbehere said before Tuesday night’s game at the Wells Fargo Center. “But being somewhere else for the first time in my career, it’s pretty cool. A lot of changes going on.’’
Back in the day, Gostisbehere appeared to have a bright future with the Flyers. He finished runnerup for the Calder Trophy (NHL rookie of the year) in 2015-16 and set several league rookie records in the process.
Gostisbehere led Union College to the NCAA Division I championship over the University of Minnesota at WFC back in 2014 and said that was the last time he dressed in the “visiting’’ locker room.
“It was definitely weird coming in on the other side of the building,’’ he said.
The Florida native disclosed he had dinner with several of his former teammates on Monday night.
“It was good to catch up,’’ Gostisbehere said. “It was good to see those guys but definitely a little weird being on this side.’’
Gostisbehere married his longtime girlfriend, Gina Valentine, over the summer. She continues to work at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and makes occasional visits to Arizona. Also, the couple worked closely with the area SPCA chapter and Ivan Provorov has picked up those duties.
A video tribute was planned for “Ghost’’ and said he appreciated that gesture.
“Philly’s a tough city,’’ he said, “but they love you.’’
At the Flyers’ morning skate, Sean Couturier said it was going to be a bit odd playing against a former teammate who was here for the better part of seven years.
“It’s going to be different,’’ Couturier said. “It’s going to be fun to play against him. I’m sure he’s excited to come back here and play against us.’’
>Aube-Kubel back in lineup
After sitting out a couple games as a healthy scratch, fourth line right wing Nicolas Aube-Kubel returned to the lineup on Tuesday. Patrick Brown went to the bench.
“Both play a similar game,’’ Vigeneault said at a pre-game press briefing. “They’re hard on the forecheck. ‘Ku’ has missed the last two so I want to get him back in.’’
>Ellis, Hayes skate at Voorhees
The Flyers held their pre-game morning skate at the Wells Fargo Center but two injured players – Kevin Hayes (abdominal surgery) and Ryan Ellis (hip/groin) – skated by themselves over at the Flyers Training Center in New Jersey.
“My understanding is they both had good days,’’ Vigneault said. “I’m hoping that in the near future both these players join the team for full practices in the next couple days.’’
>First game back always tough
It’s one of those old rules of thumb: The first game back after a long trip is usually a tough one. Even though the Coyotes came into the game winless (0-8-1) Vigneault expected a good test.
“We had two days (off) in between (the last game at Calgary),’’ Vigneault pointed out. “Which is good, it should enable us to get back to Eastern time. And, the fact that we didn’t play very well in Calgary should be motivation enough for us to go out and play hard. I watched their last three games, they came close against Carolina, they were all one-goal games. I believe in our leadership group and it’s up to all of us at puck drop to be ready to go.’’