#4: Travis Sanheim
Chuck Fletcher gave Travis Sanheim a huge extension last year, and the Flyers therefore trusted him and enshrined him as the cornerstone of their defense. It’s safe to say that he hasn’t gotten off to a good start. Maybe it was the stress of trying to live up to the deal or adjusting to a new system under a new coach. Maybe it was the fact that he had to deal with new defense partners all season. Either way, Sanheim fell flat on his face and the deal is looking like a huge bust.
The defender was benched for frankly unspectacular play near the end of the season, although, to be honest, he could have been scratched earlier. Three other blueliners from last season are now gone: Justin Braun, Tony DeAngelo, and Ivan Provorov. At one point, it seemed as if Sanheim himself could’ve been traded away to St. Louis with Kevin Hayes, but that deal fell through, if it was in fact a real proposal to begin with.
At the end of last season, there were some who felt that Sanheim should be dealt immediately. Others felt that he should be given a chance to redeem himself. While 2022-23 wasn’t a terrible season, it wasn’t what we’ve been used to seeing from him and not worthy of the huge contract he was honored with.
This, however, is a new season. If he can get back that swagger he showed before, he can be a cornerstone of this defense. A good Sanheim can stabilize what is, probably, the weakest part of this team (the defense). A great Sanheim can shorten this team’s rebuilding process pretty quickly. It’s up to him to put it out there on the ice.