Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere is spending his summer rehabbing from offseason hip and abdominal surgery, while preparing for his sophomore NHL season and for World Cup of Hockey training camp as a member of Team North America.
The 23-year-old blueliner enjoyed a successful rookie season in 2015-16. He registered 17 goals and 29 assists for 46 points in 64 games. His 17 goals set a franchise record for rookie defensemen. He also went on a 15-game scoring tear, which is the longest such streak by a rookie defenseman in NHL history.
Gostisbehere was also a major reason the Flyers reached the Stanley Cup playoffs, and he proved he could compete at a high level and have consistent success in the NHL. After his surgery, he's feeling better and ready to go for the upcoming season.
He sat down recently with ESPN.com to talk about the latest events in his life:
ESPN.com: How are you feeling since your offseason surgery?
Shayne Gostisbehere: It's good. It's been about [11 weeks], so it's been going well. It's not as bad as the major knee surgery I had [after tearing an ACL on Nov. 7, 2014], and this is nothing compared to that. It's going well, and I've been back on the ice the last couple of weeks, so it feels good.
ESPN.com: Will you be ready for World Cup of Hockey training camp?
Gostisbehere: Oh, yeah. Absolutely.
ESPN.com: What did it mean to you to be added to the roster for Team North America?
Gostisbehere: It's just a tremendous honor. When you look at some of those names on that roster, and you're on it, as well, it's humbling, for sure. Just to be associated with some of those guys is pretty sweet. Being part of this World Cup is a tremendous honor, and I thanked all my coaches, my family and everyone who helped me get here.
ESPN.com: What do you think of the Team North America roster?
Gostisbehere: When you look at our roster, people are probably saying, 'Holy cow, these guys are going to be pretty good.' I think we'll surprise some guys. But there are [great] players with all the different countries, and it's just cool to see the different dynamic of the World Cup with Team Europe and Team North America, and being part of the young guys' team, it's pretty cool to see.
ESPN.com: What's the rallying cry for the young guns?
Gostisbehere: Our attitude right away is going to be, 'Hey, we can play with these guys.' Of course, we do it in the NHL, so why can't we do it in this tournament? I actually really do think we're going to shock some teams there.
ESPN.com: What's your relationship like with some of your Team North America teammates, including Connor McDavid?
Gostisbehere: I met McDavid in Las Vegas for the [NHL] awards. He's a very levelheaded kid for all the stuff going on around him, being the face of the league soon enough. It's cool to see how levelheaded he is. I played with Seth Jones and Jacob Trouba on the [U.S.] World Junior team, so it'll be good to see those guys and catch up with them. It'll be fun.
ESPN.com: You finished second behind Artemi Panarin for the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year. Now that you've had time to reflect on your rookie season, how would you describe it?
Gostisbehere: If someone told me that I would have that type of season, I would look at them like they're crazy. But it was a lot of hard work, and everything that went into my rehab for my knee and everything, it's just a compliment to everyone that helped me get there. It was a great season. You look back on it now and say, 'Holy cow, what am I going to do to duplicate that?' It's about putting in more hard work this summer and battling through injuries and rehab. Again, it's more maintenance than anything, so I'm just gearing up for another good year.
ESPN.com: Besides the rehab from the surgery, what has the offseason been like?
Gostisbehere: I've been relaxing. My girlfriend, she lives in Connecticut, so I get up there and get away from the city life of Philly. I like it. It's enjoyable. I just hang out with my two puppies, go on walks and hang by the pool and get down to the shore, if I can. It's more about relaxing and taking care of the body, clean eating and just gearing up to build the body up to break it back down.
ESPN.com: During the playoffs, Flyers team owner and hockey icon Ed Snider passed away. What did you learn about the organization and how people rallied to support one another during a tough time?
Gostisbehere: To see the loss of Mr. Snider, and he is not only the Philadelphia Flyers, he is the city of Philadelphia. He brought [pro] sports here, and to see such an icon of the game go down like that is hard to see. But the way our organization, not only our organization, but the city of Philadelphia and how they rallied and we paid our respects to Mr. Snider [was impressive]. I'm sure he was happy that day we made the playoffs. It was a special moment for us, but to see everyone come together during a tragic time for us, and to see what he actually did for Philadelphia as more and more things come out about him, it was truly great to see, and we'll surely miss him.
ESPN.com: The season ended with a first-round exit to the Washington Capitals, but how much can the Flyers gain from that experience moving forward?
Gostisbehere: Yeah, we definitely set our goals to make the playoffs and do some damage, and making the playoffs was a big step for us. And we were not happy with our first-round exit, but it's a great stepping stone for this upcoming season. We've got a great group of guys here and some great additions, so we're excited, and we'll be ready to go and we'll know what to expect this upcoming year.
Shayne Gostisbehere on Team North America's rallying cry: We're going to shock some teams