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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 ET / News
By Jay Greenberg  - philadelphiaflyers.com
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Greenberg: Why Sanheim at 17
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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
WATCH: Sanheim meets the Philly media for the first time
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 - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Voracek 82 22 59 1 81
C. Giroux 81 25 48 -3 73
M. Streit 81 9 43 -8 52
W. Simmonds 75 28 22 -5 50
B. Schenn 82 18 29 -5 47
S. Couturier 82 15 22 4 37
M. Del Zotto 64 10 22 -5 32
M. Read 80 8 22 -4 30
M. Raffl 67 21 7 6 28
V. Lecavalier 57 8 12 -7 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 18 18 11 .928 2.25
R. Emery 10 11 7 .894 3.06
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