Flyers’ Sanheim poised to improve under new leadership

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Flyers' Travis Sanheim
Flyers’ Travis Sanheim (Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre)

Travis Sanheim has been through four head coaches during his tenure as a defenseman for the Philadelphia Flyers. Soon, he’ll be at training camp under the direction of lucky number five, John Tortorella.

There is no doubt that a veteran like Sanheim will be an asset on defense in Philadelphia. Since 2017, he’s become the fourth highest-paid defenseman in the lineup. He’s played 335 games, posting 116pts (29G, 87A.)

Sanheim, under the tutelage of Tortorella, might be the best defender on the roster. He spoke to the media at the Flyers Training Center in Voorhees, NJ about some of his defensive teammates, looking forward to a fresh start in 2022-2023.

“With the pieces we’ve added, with some of the guys we got coming back as well, we got a good mix of physicality and a ton of skill to play on both sides. I think you need that in today’s game. You can’t shy away from it, and you still got to have that skill level and speed to be able to keep up in this league.”

Travis Sanheim; 9/13/2022

During his five seasons with the Flyers, Sanheim graced the lineup with talented teammates: Radko Gudas, Ivan Provorov, Matt Niskanen, and Ryan Ellis come to mind. Ellis missed all but fours games of the 2021-2022 season with a “multilateral” injury, a glaring omission from a healthy lineup. There are doubts that the defenseman will even suit up for the beginning of the 2022-23 season, but Sanheim remains positive:

“I haven’t spoken with him recently. I spoke with him in the summer, and things sounded positive. We’re hoping for the best for him, hoping he can get back healthy. Obviously, he’s a big piece of our group, and if we can add him this season, that would be a big add for our d-core.”

Travis Sanheim; 9/13/2022

In lieu of Ellis, the Flyers sealed that base via a trade for Tony DeAngelo from the Carolina Hurricanes, but he came at a price. The Hurricanes received three draft picks (a 2022 fourth-round, a 2023 third-round, and a 2024 second-round) and DeAngelo agreed to a 2yr/$10mil contract. DeAngelo played 64 games for Carolina, notching 51pts (10G, 41A) and a +30 rating. There is a void to be filled for a powerplay expert along the blueline, and DeAngelo fits the bill. Sanheim cited DeAngelo, hoping to expand his game by learning from him.

“I think he’s going to be a great addition for us. I think just even the skates we’ve been in; his IQ, the way he sees the ice, especially offensively when he has the puck on his stick, he’s got quite a bit of poise and seems to make the better play more times than not. It’s going to be fun to watch and fun to even learn from him.”

Travis Sanheim; 9/13/2022

The Flyers are going to become a team in the Metropolitan opponents dread if they buy into Tortorella. Attacking defensively will allow opportunities in the offensive zone, signature of a Tortorella system. Tortorella is bringing a defense-forward strategy to the City of Brotherly Love and Sanheim could become feared in the NHL. Throughout the entirety of the 2022 Philadelphia Flyers Training Camp, Sanheim and the rest of the roster will test their blades to the ice:

“I don’t think you can ever be fully prepared for what is to come. It’s going to be a grind either way, and I think we’re looking forward to it.”

Travis Sanheim; 9/13/2022

(Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre)