Union sophomore defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere had just sat down on the couch with his family in their Margate, Fla., home to watch the NHL draft. He was anticipating hearing his name being announced, possibly in one of the later rounds.
As it turns out, he didn’t have to wait very long.
The Philadelphia Flyers selected the 19-year-old Gostisbehere in the third round (78th overall) during the final day of the draft Saturday at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh.
It proved to be a banner day for the Dutchmen. Incoming freshman Tim Boyle, a defenseman for Nobles School in Massachusetts, was a fourth-round selection (106th overall) by the Ottawa Senators.
Naturally, Gostisbehere and his family were thrilled.
“I was with my family, and we went pretty nuts,” Gostisbehere said. “We didn’t get a call saying that I was going to go early. We were watching TV, and my name just popped up. We went nuts.”
Gostisbehere had an outstanding freshman season, collecting five goals and 17 assists in 41 games. He was named to the ECAC Hockey All-Rookie team, and was selected to the ECACH All-Tournament team.
“I had heard some rumors that I might go in the third round, or fourth,” Gostisbehere said. “I just took it in stride. I’m just happy I went.”
The selections of Gostisbehere and Boyle give Union seven NHL draft picks in program history. They join goalie Justin Mrazek (eighth round by the Washington Capitals, 2004), goalie Brandon Snee (fifth round by the New York Rangers, 2000), goalie Steve Baker (No. 44 overall pick by the Rangers, 1977), forward Kip Churchill (141st overall pick by the Detroit Red Wings, 1977) and forward Dean Willers (175th overall pick by the Red Wings, 1977).
“If anybody has ever gone through it, it’s quite an exciting time,” Union coach Rick Bennett said. “Just getting off the phone with him, he sounds like he’s on Cloud 9 with his family.”
Gostisbehere was ranked 148th among North American skaters in the final NHL Central Scouting Bureau ratings. Bennett wasn’t surprised he was a third-round pick.
“Because of what he did throughout the second half of the season, and even in the playoffs,” Bennett said. “In the playoffs, he was one of our better defensemen. That speaks volumes. Everything he got today was because of hard work.”
Gostisbehere spoked with the Flyers’ management after he was picked. The Flyers were one of the teams that was closely looking at Gostisbehere.
“When I was talking to them before, they said that I had great offensive upside, and I’m not just offensive. I can play defense,” Gostisbehere said.
Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren is pleased with the selection of Gostisbehere.
“He’s a puck-moving, skilled defenseman,” Holmgren said in an interview on the Flyers’ website. “I’m happy with the way it went.”
The selection of Gostisbehere gives Union another connection to the Flyers. Senior defenseman Greg Coburn’s brother, Brayden, is a defenseman for Philadelphia.
The 5-foot-11, 160-pound Gostisbehere, who played his prep hockey at South Kent School, knows all about the storied history of the Flyers, from their Stanley Cup-winning years during the Broad Street Bullies’ era to today’s high-flying team, led by Claude Giroux.
“They’re an historic team,” Gostisbehere said. “They’re known for being bullies, but I’m not much of a bully. I couldn’t have been happier [to be picked] by a team so historic. It’s pretty good. It’s really amazing.”
Getting selected by the Flyers capped a big week for Gostisbehere. On Monday, he was invited to the U.S. National Development Camp Aug. 4-11 in Lake Placid to try out for the U.S. team that will play in the World Junior Championships Dec. 26-Jan. 5 in Ufa, Russia.
“It’s probably one of the best weeks of my hockey career, I’m not going to lie,” Gostisbehere said.
Boyle is 5-11, 165 pounds. He was rated 208th among North American skaters in the final Central Scouting Bureau report. Bennett thought Boyle would be selected, but getting picked in the fourth round caught him off guard.
“We had a heads-up from the team that drafted him,” Bennett said. “I thought he would go in the seventh round. It’s great for Tim and his family. I’m sure they know the whole process.”
Boyle’s brother, Brian, is a center for the New York Rangers. Ironically, the Rangers eliminated the Senators in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals of the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs in April.
“Just wanted to give a huge thank you to my friends and family for making this day possible,” Tim Boyle tweeted. “I love you all.”