By Harry Allison

The Flyers’ defense is in free-fall, so it’s time to call in the services of an untested 21-year-old rookie.

Shayne Gostisbehere, also known as Ghost, was ticketed to play his first pro season learning the ropes playing in the AHL for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

The plan changed Friday after the Flyers learned they’d be without big-minutes defensemen Braydon Coburn and Andrew MacDonald for a month due to foot injuries.

After considering all options, including swinging a trade, GM Ron Hextall announced late Friday afternoon that Gostisbehere, 21, had been recalled after just two AHL games this season.

“In a perfect world, you let a kid stay there and play, but we don’t live in a perfect world,” Hextall said.

Gostisbehere was scratched from the Phantoms’ lineup for their game in Allentown on Friday night against the Hershey Bears and is expected to make his NHL debut on Saturday night at Wells Fargo Center against the Detroit Red Wings.

At this point, the Flyers have no choice because they needed six defensemen and they were down to five after getting the bad news on Coburn and MacDonald.

Earlier Friday, Hextall was asked if calling up Gostisbehere was an option.

“Um … I don’t know,” he said. “We’re going to discuss that as the day goes on. … He’s played two (AHL) games. That’s the unfortunate thing. I wish our (Phantoms players) have played more games, but typically that’s the American League at the start of the year. So I haven’t seen much of him. I saw him in preseason and then I watched the opening night.”

Known for his offensive skillset, Gostisbehere was a 2012 third-round draft pick who received national attention last spring with a dominating performance in leading Union College to an NCAA championship.


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