By Dan Charlton (@Dan_Charlton48)
The Philadelphia Flyers are finally opening up the gates for the youth to come flooding in. Many of the highly touted prospects are now going to get their NHL look and can hopefully for the Flyers, begin pushing the team toward being a contender. This training camp provides an interesting scenario for the defensive prospects as two, possibly three, of them will be on the Flyers’ roster come the fall.
The question is: which ones?
The ‘frontrunners’ for the two spots are Sam Morin and Robert Hägg, as both got their first NHL games in and have the most pro experience out of the whole group. However, fellow prospects Travis Sanheim and Phillipe Myers have no intention of going down easy.
“I think I’m ready and I’m going to fight for a spot until someone tells me differently. I’m coming to make the Flyers.“- Travis Sanheim via the Philadelphia Flyers twitter.
“Hopefully good things will happen for me in camp,” he said. “I’m gonna try my best and whatever happens, happens. I have trust in Hexy and the coaching staff and management here. I know they’re gonna put me in the right spot. Wherever I go next season I’ll be happy with it.” – Philippe Myers via Dave Issac of the Courier Post
Sanheim and Myers both have a shot at cracking the roster next season. Sanheim impressed with his development in his rookie AHL season and honed his defensive game as well as playing an integral role in the success of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Myers, when healthy, was dominant in the QMJHL and played excellent in the World Junior Championship for Canada on their top pair before being concussed by Minnesota Wild prospect Luke Kunin in a game against the USA.
Myers’ injuries may hold him back from the Flyers, but Hextall’s philosophy of earning roster spots is beneficial to him. He impressed in camp last season and was one of the last cuts in training camp, and that was coming off of a surgery and without a summer workout. Myers has already stated that he has put on 10 lbs. of muscle, and that he has a rigorous training routine for the summer to work on his speed as well as lifting. It’s also worth noting that TSN’s Bob McKenzie said that Myers was NHL ready, or at the least pretty close to it, during the WJC as well as having him ranked as the 10th best prospect not yet in the league. Myers is also a right-handed shot which could benefit the defense corp if he were to make the team out of camp this year. Radko Gudas is the only right-handed shot currently on the back end.
Myers was over a point-per-game player this year with 35 points (10 G, 25 A) in 34 games for the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies of the QMJHL in the regular season as well as posting nine points (3G, 6A) in 13 playoff games. He also had three assists in four games at the WJC.
Sanheim maintained his smooth skating offensive prowess in the AHL amassing 37 points (10G, 27A) in 76 games with the Phantoms. He played alongside fellow prospect Morin for most of the year and he did not disappoint. Sanheim scored some highlight reel goals for the Phantoms, as well as being more reliable defensively, which was the one knock on his game. So far at development camp, Sanheim has shown off his fantastic, effortless movement and has been very impressive overall. If Sanheim were to make the team, he would bolster the powerplay on the back end giving the newly hired assistant coach Kris Knoblauch Sanheim, Ivan Provorov, and Shayne Gostisbehere to work with when constructing his powerplay units.
Those earlier quotes show that both of these players believe that they’re ready for that jump. That they can boost a defense that has been mediocre to straight-up bad for the past two-plus years. Both of them can provide much needed help to Provorov, Gostisbehere and Gudas and help turn around a team weakness and make it into a team strength. Now if Morin and Hägg make the team out of camp instead, that’s still great, but Sanheim and Myers, when they’re ready, have the tools and the ability to make a big impact for the Flyers and should be a huge part of the team for years to come.
Picture via CSNPhilly.com