With a national championship ring, a most outstanding player award and little left to accomplish at the collegiate level, the lure of the NHL was too much for Shayne Gostisbehere to ignore.
Gostisbehere agreed to terms on a three-year, entry-level deal with the Flyers on Tuesday afternoon - just three days after helping Union College to their first NCAA crown on Wells Fargo Center ice.
Terms of the deal were not yet disclosed, however it does not begin until the fall. Therefore, he is not an option to play in the NHL this season. At the NHL level, Gostisbehere will likely earn the maximum entry-level salary of $925,000 plus performance-based bonuses.
“It’s not far-fetched,” Paul Holmgren said when asked if Gostisbehere could be in the NHL next season. “He’s an exciting young player, the way he plays the game. It’s going to be a big summer for him to continue to get stronger and prepare himself to get ready for the rigors of an 82-game schedule.”
Right now, an excited Gostisbehere is just focused on his professional debut this weekend - not looking ahead.
"I haven't played a professional game yet," Gostisbehere said. "Whatever they want me to do, I'm all ears."
Gostisbhere, 20, will forego his senior season when he reports to the AHL’s Adirondack Phantoms on Thursday. He will play the final three games of the Phantoms' season this weekend on an amateur tryout contract.
The Phantoms, in Glens Falls, N.Y., are just up the road from Union’s campus in Schenectady, N.Y. Holmgren said the Flyers’ goal would have been to try and sign Gostisbehere regardless of whether Union won the national title or not.
“If they didn’t win, I’m not sure what he would have done,” Holmgren said.
Once the Phantoms wrap up their season, failing to make the playoffs for a fifth consecutive season, Gostisbehere and other young players will practice and travel with the Flyers for the remainder of their playoff run.
“I don’t know if it pushed me (to sign),” Gostisbehere said in a conference call Tuesday. “What happened in Philly was a moment I’ll never forget. I just sat down with my folks and we decided what was best for my development. I’m just ready for the next step.”
As for this summer, when Gostisbehere is expected to add weight to his 180-pound frame, Holmgren threw caution at a notion that his star third-round pick needs to bulk up.
“You don’t want to load down your Ferrari,” Holmgren said.
For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers