Travis Sanheim’s benching has been a long time coming

Jan 24, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Travis Sanheim (6) during the first period against the Los Angeles Kings at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 24, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Travis Sanheim (6) during the first period against the Los Angeles Kings at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /
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Out of everyone who has been benched this season by John Tortorella, Travis Sanheim was a head scratcher as to why he wasn’t benched at all this season considering he has been extremely up and down. After last season, Sanheim seemed like he was progressing to eventually be an extremely huge piece to the Flyers defense. He has proved otherwise this season.

This year, Sanheim has been a consistent second pairing player for Tortorella, but hasn’t had a ton of consistent play night in and night out. Comparing Sanheim to last season, he seems like a much a different player. I really believed Sanheim could’ve been the partner Ivan Provorov had been missing since Matt Niskanen retired. While Ristolainen and Sanheim were a good combination, it seems like Ristolainen has gotten better as the season has progressed while Sanheim went the other way.

Last season Sanheim finished with seven goals and 24 assists, but his discipline and +/- were his best assets. Sanheim had a +9 and only 34 PIM. This season, Sanheim is a -7 and 34 PIM. It is such a turnaround for a player of his caliber. I was one of those in Sanheim’s first season who said he wasn’t ready. He gained my support over the last two seasons. I felt like he deserved the contract he got, but he just can’t seem to find his style of play that made him so effective in this league.

When Nick Seeler has a +2 and 30 PIM, you need to look into the mirror and remind yourself of what made you so successful. What is even worse is Tortorella is sending a message when you come home to play where your family can see you and now you’re benched.

If he continues playing the way he is, it is very reminiscent to Andrew MacDonald. Unfortunately for Sanheim, there are options in this organization for this team to replace him. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were teams calling for him and Chuck Fletcher finding a good package for him.

There are plenty of teams who could use a guy like Sanheim and the Flyers have Ronnie Attard and Egor Zamula waiting in the wings for a chance to play and Sanheim himself could give them the way in.

The trade deadline is approaching and honestly, there is something coming for this Flyers team coming soon. If Travis Sanheim wants to be apart of this team, then he needs to wake up. Whenever a player has been benched, they seemed to react well. Tony DeAngelo and Travis Konecny have been better since being benched.

I hope Sanheim can do that at as well and can find himself scoring goals and activating offensively and playing solid defense like he did prior. Everyone blamed Ristolainen for the goals they gave up last season, what’s the excuse for this season?