Gostisbehere named Flyers nominee for Masterton Trophy

The Flyers rookie phenom this season may be in discussions for the Calder Trophy. He may eclipse more franchise rookie records in the final weeks of the season.

But even if he doesn't, his unlikely way of getting to the NHL and staying for good is enough.

Defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere is the Flyers nominee for the Bill Masterton Trophy, voted on by the Philadelphia chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association.

Gostisbehere has 16 goals and 25 assists for 41 points this season, but that is only where the success begins.

In 56 games, he has helped turn the Flyers season from a complete bust to a potential playoff run. In doing so, he has also overcome an obstacle that could have derailed everything.

The Masterton Award is presented to the player who best exemplifies perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.

In his first four months with the Flyers, this is a player that has plenty of sportsmanship and respect for the game and a willingness and dedication to improve at all things. Perseverance, however, is another thing.

Gostisbehere was riding a similar wave of success two years ago in April 2014 when he and his teammates at Union College stormed into Philadelphia for the Frozen Four and emerged as National Champions. Gostisbehere was a plus-7 in the title game, scoring a goal and adding an assist in Union's 7-4 win over Minnesota.

Later that week, Gostisbehere was a professional hockey player, joining the Phantoms on an entry-level contract.

He started that season with the Phantoms, playing five games before being called to the Flyers in an emergency situation. He played two games in the NHL, then returned to the AHL. Two games later, his season was over.

An ACL injury didn't just threaten his season, it threatened his career path. With the early exposure to the NHL, there was a chance Gostisbehere could have returned later that season had he been capable of continuing the work and development in the AHL.

But Gostisbehere recovered and attended Flyers games and watched from above to gain the perspective and learn the game. When it was time to physically return, a different player had taken the ice. There was no hesitance or hindrance at all. Gostisbehere looked like a star.

And when he made the leap to the NHL, he never looked back and blossomed into one.

Gostisbehere's work ethic to get back to the NHL and stay there is only part of the story. In his success — a 15-game points streak, an NHL record for rookie defensemen, and a Flyers rookie record for goals in a season by a defenseman — he has remained as humble as ever, focusing on team goals and the desire to improve his play on the defensive end as the offense kept coming.

The Flyers have three previous winners of the Masterton Trophy: Bobby Clarke in 1972, Tim Kerr in 1989 and Ian Laperriere in 2011.

Kevin Durso is managing editor for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso