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This article was published 9/12/2018 (1297 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The Flyers have already sacked their general manager and head coach Dave Hakstol remains on the hot seat, but tumultuous times on Broad Street haven’t put a damper on the development of one of Philadelphia’s prize young defencemen —Travis Sanheim.
The 22-year-old sophomore from Elkhorn, a first-round (17th overall) pick by then-GM Ron Hextall in the 2014 draft, appears to have turned the corner on his development in his first full season as an NHLer.
"We’ve had a couple of crazy weeks here," Sanheim said following Philly’s 7-1 drubbing at the hands of the Winnipeg Jets at Bell MTS Place on Sunday afternoon.
"We’re trying to figure things out and kind of get over that stretch. Obviously, today wasn’t a good effort but we played well yesterday (in a 6-2 win in Buffalo) and there were things from tonight’s game we can take as positives."
On Sunday, with about 40 friends and family in attendance, including parents Shelly and Kent and twin brother Taylor, Sanheim’s 23:13 of ice time trailed only fellow blue-liner Ivan Provorov, who finished with 27:00. What’s more, Sanheim’s accurate point shot was redirected by Jakub Vorachek for Philadelphia’s lone goal, bringing the Flyers to within a goal at 2-1 late in the first period.
Sanheim also logged 1:52 of power-play time and 1:53 on the penalty-killing unit Sunday, registered three shots on goal and one blocked shot.
"What you saw tonight, you know, is a pretty good snapshot," said Hakstol, whose club is 12-13-3 and seventh in the Metropolitan Division.
"He’s doing a lot of really good things for our team. He’s gaining confidence and you see some of the swagger in his game. He’s still working to be a more complete player in terms of the 200-foot defending game.
"His last two weeks (have) been a real good step forward for him."
Sanheim is starting to flash some of the offensive mojo he developed during a three-year stint with the Western Hockey League’s Calgary Hitmen and parts of three seasons with Lehigh Valley of the AHL.
On Dec. 6, he scored twice against the the Columbus Blue Jackets, his first multi-goal game in the NHL. Sunday’s assist gave Sanheim two goals and nine points in 28 games this season, two shy of the total he produced in 49 games with the Flyers in 2017-18.
"I thought we got off to a pretty good start," Sanheim said.
"I thought we were good for probably the first half of the game and then in the second period, things kind of changed there. They started coming and their transition game, we started turning over pucks, they started eating us up on the transition game and they kind of took over from there.
"My confidence is where I’ve improved the most," said Sanheim, a 6-3, 181-pounder who looks like he probably hasn’t filled out yet.
"Taking that extra second to make a play, moving my feet, defending well, checking well. The things I’ve gotta get better at (are) playing guys harder and making sure I win those one-on-one battles.
"I’m still a young kid. I need to improve and get stronger."
Another highly touted young Flyer, 20-year-old centre Nolan Patrick, is working to establish himself as a star in the NHL.
Patrick played 15:40 on the club’s No. 2 line with Vorachek and Wayne Simmonds, earning an assist Sunday to bring his season totals to five goals and 10 points in 25 games.
"Patty had a little rough patch over the last 10 days, but I really liked his game the last couple of days," Hakstol said.
Mike has been working on the Free Press sports desk since 2003.