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Greenberg: Why Sanheim at 17

Flyers columnist looks at why Travis Sanheim jumped up to 17th overall

Saturday, 06.28.2014 / 8:20 AM / News
By Jay Greenberg  - philadelphiaflyers.com
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Greenberg: Why Sanheim at 17
Flyers columnist Jay Greenberg looks at why Travis Sanheim jumped up to 17th overall

Travis Sanheim has good jump. He shot up from 167th to 53rd in the Central Scouting in just half a Western League season. And not even Drew Doughty could ever say that.

Now, can Sanheim eventually go blueline to blueline at the same speed with which all 30 teams -- shrugging mostly at the sight of the first three months of his initial Western Canada League season -- suddenly got in line to interview him at the scouting combine?

Time will tell, but the first telltale sign that the Flyers hit a sleeper Friday night with the 17th pick came in a phone call after they chose the lean, not yet mean (14 penalty minutes), defenseman from the Calgary Hitmen.

“We made our pick and got a call right away [from a team wanting] our guy for two picks,” said Ron Hextall.

MORE ON TRAVIS SANHEIM

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READ: Full Press Release on Travis Sanheim

This was as interesting as it was validating. Almost until the Flyers chose the stringbean with the rankings of a jumping bean, Hextall had entertained trying to turn one pick into two.

“We didn’t think Travis would slide very far though,” said Hextall. So the Flyers took Sanheim, all 181 pounds of him, with the expectation of it turning that into 200.

When you chose in the middle of the first round, you don’t just take the next best player, but the guy who has the most growth potential. If this draft took place, say next December, not even the top four picks that seemed to separate themselves from the rest of the first round would be guaranteed to go that high again. Central Scouting did not agree with the Flyers about Sam Morin a year ago. It probably would agree with them now.

The rankings are fluid. Thanks to a good showing at the World Junior Championships, boy were they fluid in Sanheim’s case. And there was enough fluidity fast developing in Sanheim’s game this season for the Flyers to believe he has potential to someday play on the top four of a good NHL blueline.

“He is a really good skater, a kid with range, who moves the puck well,” said Hextall.

He is not ready for the NHL. (Director of Player Development) Kjell Samuelsson might get a place in Calgary because he is going to be out there all year. It’s time for Travis to take the next step, work harder, eat right, develop his body, develop mentally.

“We interview a lot of kids. The first thing you are looking for is does he have a beard, is he full developed. There might be this much upside instead of this much. And we took the player with the most upside.”

“This kid just rose and rose.”

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Giroux 82 28 58 7 86
J. Voracek 82 23 39 11 62
W. Simmonds 82 29 31 -4 60
S. Hartnell 78 20 32 11 52
M. Streit 82 10 34 3 44
B. Schenn 82 20 21 0 41
M. Read 75 22 18 -4 40
S. Couturier 82 13 26 1 39
V. Lecavalier 69 20 17 -16 37
K. Timonen 77 6 29 5 35
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 33 18 7 .917 2.50
R. Emery 9 12 2 .903 2.96
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