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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

WATCH: Travis Sanheim gets picked 17th overall by Ron Hextall
WATCH: Travis Sanheim 1-on-1 interview after selection
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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 NYI 47 32 14 1 155 130 65
2 DET 48 28 11 9 144 123 65
3 TBL 49 30 15 4 158 131 64
4 MTL 46 30 13 3 126 108 63
5 PIT 47 27 12 8 143 120 62
6 NYR 45 27 14 4 135 110 58
7 WSH 47 24 14 9 140 124 57
8 BOS 48 25 16 7 126 121 57
9 FLA 45 20 15 10 111 127 50
10 OTT 46 19 18 9 126 128 47
11 TOR 48 22 23 3 142 150 47
12 PHI 49 20 22 7 134 149 47
13 CBJ 46 21 22 3 117 145 45
14 NJD 47 17 22 8 107 134 42
15 CAR 47 17 25 5 102 122 39
16 BUF 48 14 31 3 90 171 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Voracek 49 17 40 11 57
C. Giroux 48 16 36 6 52
M. Streit 49 7 28 -2 35
W. Simmonds 49 17 12 -5 29
B. Schenn 49 10 19 -3 29
S. Couturier 49 10 12 -1 22
M. Read 49 3 15 -9 18
M. Raffl 40 12 3 6 15
M. Del Zotto 37 4 11 -7 15
V. Lecavalier 35 7 7 -10 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 9 12 6 .921 2.41
R. Emery 8 9 1 .887 3.38
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