Highly touted prospect Travis Sanheim has been sent down to AHL Lehigh Valley and for the Flyers, it was the right thing to do.
Philadelphia Flyers fans who want to watch Travis Sanheim play hockey won’t be able to do it at the Wells Fargo Center anymore. Not that they were able to very much as of late anyway.
On Monday, the Flyers announced that Sanheim was being sent back down to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms for the duration. In his place the team has recalled Mark Alt to take his place in the roster.
Some Flyers fans and analysts have wondered exactly what has been going on with Sanheim over the last month or so. The prized rookie has seen little playing time and has been a healthy scratch in nine of the Flyers last 10 games. GM Ron Hextall has been pretty vocal that he would like to see Sanheim get more time on the ice but has left it ultimately up to head coach Dave Hakstol to make the final decision.
Hexy on Travis Sanheim: "Obviously, I don't like him sitting, the coaches don't like him sitting, and I'm sure he doesn't like sitting, either. So something will break here at some point." #Flyers
— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) January 19, 2018
It looks like that something has broken and Sanheim has been sent down to Lehigh Valley so he can actually play hockey.
And for Hakstol and his hockey club, it was the right thing to do.
As talented as Sanheim is and may be someday, right now he is still a rookie who obviously has a lot to learn. During the last few seasons the Hakstol had the luxury of giving playing time to the rookies and letting them develop. The Flyers were rebuilding and that is what you do when your team is trying to find the right pieces that will translate into a winning hockey club.
But this season things are a bit different. Hakstol has to know he in on the hot seat and that if Philadelphia misses the postseason again, it will likely mean his job. The fans have been vocal that they feel many of the issues with this club has to do with the head coach. And whether that’s true or not doesn’t matter.
Hakstol needs the Flyers to win now, which lucky for him is something they are doing a lot of as of late.
After being left for dead by many fans, the Flyers have crawled back into playoff contention, beating some of the best teams in the Metropolitan Division over the last week. They pretty much control their destiny at this point in the season and trying to make room so Sanheim, a player that just doesn’t fit with what Hakstol is doing, could be disastrous.
It is something Hakstol is well aware of, telling NBC Sports Philadelphia that he wasn’t going to rock the boat just to get Sanheim on the ice.
“We’re not going to do anything to get anybody in the lineup at this point in time. It can’t solely be about that. If that’s a scenario that’s best for our team, then we’ll consider it. What’s the right combination for our team to win a game that day?”
The Flyers have finally found some chemistry and a rhythm on the ice. They are winning the games they are supposed to and beating the tougher teams that they have to. Ensuring that continues should be the club’s top priority.
Travis Sanheim will get his chance. It might not be this season, but his time will come. As Sixers fans are so fond of saying, Trust the Process.