Flyers Focusing on Player Development
Flyers general manager Ron Hextall cracked a smile after the draft when talking to reporters about first-round pick Travis Sanheim, who played his first season of junior hockey for the Calgary Hitmen.
Hextall joked that player development coach Kjell Samuelsson might want to buy a house in Calgary, because next season he’ll be going there a lot to check up on Sanheim’s growth as a player.
“That’s the way we do it. I don’t know if I have to have a house there, but I’m gonna go see him play,” Samuelsson said with a laugh. “That’s my job and we help them out as much as we can. It’s not a sprint. It’s a marathon. He’s gonna make progress in his own time. He’s just a kid. He’s 18 years old. This is his first step, he has a long way to go.”
The patient process of advancing young players is something the Flyers are in for the long haul. It’s not just Sanheim and it’s not just happening this year. Ian Laperriere, now an assistant coach, was in player development last year and took 2013 first-round pick Samuel Morin under his wing and still keeps in contact.
Morin and Sanheim are just two of the prospects in the Flyers’ pool, which was once thought to be in a drought. Now there are a few more intriguing youngsters like Taylor Leier, Shayne Gostisbehere, Scott Laughton and Anthony Stolarz to name a few.