Travis Sanheim Battling for one of Final Sports on Flyers Defense
VOORHEES — And then there were three.
At least that’s how it appeared Monday when the Flyers changed their groups in practice. One was a clearly defined NHL crew, the other likely destined for the American Hockey League or back to their junior teams.
Travis Sanheim was part of the former. He, Robert Hagg and Sam Morin are battling for two spots on the Flyers’ defense corps. Phil Myers, a dark horse candidate, was moved to the second group.
“Obviously I’m excited to be out there with those guys, but I’ve still got a lot of work to do and I want to keep building on my game,” Sanheim said. “Both games so far…I thought I got better in the preseason game (Sunday) there from the rookie game, but I still made some mistakes. I still want to clean some things up and get better in my game, but overall I want to keep building.”
In the pursuit of an NHL job, what Sanheim lacks that Hagg and Morin both have is one game played in the NHL. All three were teammates with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms last season and the year of professional experience seems to have helped Sanheim. The other two made their NHL debuts late last season.
Sanheim, a 2014 first-round pick, looks far more confident now than a year ago when he tried to make the jump from the Canadian junior ranks. The gap in skill and speed is a lot tighter between the AHL and NHL than it is between junior and the NHL.