In front of their home fans at the Wells Fargo Center Friday night, general manager Ron Hextall took the stage to announce the Philadelphia Flyers' first pick of the 2014 NHL Draft. It was Travis Sanheim, a defenseman out of Elkhorn, Manitoba.
It's a name that many Flyers fans may not be familiar with, but he rocketed up draft boards as he continued to get better and better with each season that passed and each game he played. He played for the Yellowhead Chiefs in the Manitoba Midget Hockey League, and he tallied a total of 74 points in two seasons with them. This past season Sanheim spent time with the Calgary Hitmen of the WHL,, and he recorded 29 points in 67 games.
He is only going to get better, and he certainly has the time to develop into a top-four defenseman in the NHL. He measures in at 6'3" and 181 pounds, so he does need to grow into his frame a bit, but once he does, he could be a real steal of the draft for Flyers. He has been praised for his excellent skating and puck-moving ability as an defenseman.
It's clear that there is a serious shift in philosophy for the Flyers front office. After drafting Samuel Morin and Robert Hagg in last year's draft, Sanheim now joins a gluttony of defensemen prospects in the Flyers system. Along with Morin and Hagg, he joins Shayne Gostisbehere and Mark Alt. A team can never have too many defenseman.
Now it's time for the Flyers to look at offensive playmakers who can make a difference in a few years. Hextall's first draft as the lead guy in charge is incomplete, but it certainly is off to a promising start.
Tags: 2014 NHL Draft, Hockey, NHL, Philadelphia, Philadelphia Flyers, Robert Hagg, Ron Hextall, Samuel Morin, Shayne Gostisbehere, Travis Sanheim, WHL