COLUMBUS, Ohio - Shayne Gostisbehere has charged into the rookie-of-the-year conversation with his sensational play, but there are no guarantees that the speedy Flyers defenseman stays on the roster when the team activates Mark Streit.
Streit is expected to come off the long-term injured reserve list next Sunday. When he is added, the Flyers will need to clear about $855,000 in cap space in order to keep Gostisbehere on the roster.
The Flyers haven't made a decision on whether Gostisbehere will stay, and general manager Ron Hextall was noncommittal when asked about it Saturday night.
"He's done very well for us," Hextall said before the game in Columbus. "He's still a young player, and we'll monitor how he does and we'll make the best decision when we're pressed up against it."
Hextall noted that Gotsisbehere was a perfect fit because he replaced Streit on the power play.
The Flyers could gain the needed cap space by sending another player - Scott Laughton, Sam Gagner, and R.J. Umberger are among the candidates - to the AHL Phantoms. Gagner and Umberger would have to first clear waivers.
If he was sent down, Gostisbehere said, it would "hurt a little" but "it wouldn't crush me at all. . . . It's [about] keeping a good attitude and realizing you can get back here and realizing you showed you can play with them."
Gostisbehere on Saturday had a new defensive partner, Luke Schenn, who returned to the lineup after a two-week absence. Schenn was checked into the boards by Blue Jackets forward Michael Chaput and came down awkwardly on his left foot on Dec. 5.
With Schenn (minus-9) back in the lineup, Brandon Manning (plus-2) was a healthy scratch.
"Not an easy decision. Brandon has done a nice job for us," coach Dave Hakstol said before the game. "But it's time to get Luke back in."
Schenn was alongside the offensive-minded Gostisbehere for the first time. Gostisbehere entered the night with 11 points in 16 games.
"Luke's more of a defensive guy; it's nice to have that in the back of your mind when you're an offensive guy," said Gostisbehere, smiling. "You've got someone to rely on a little bit. Hopefully, I don't give him too many odd-man rushes."
Schenn played on the right side, shifting Gostisbehere to the left.