Travis Sanheim received a quick introduction to the National Hockey League. The Flyers 2014 first-round draft pick (17th overall) was bumped, checked, pushed and shoved off the puck and around the net like he had never experienced during the team’s training camp last year.
After getting sent to the Western Hockey League, Sanheim knew that if he was going to improve or even have a chance at making the Flyers in the near future, he needed to get bigger.
“After I got drafted I came to (training) camp and I was playing against men,” Sanheim said at last month’s Flyers’ Development Camp. “My lack of size was hurting me and it was something I definitely needed to improve on.”
Sanheim made it his top priority and has spent the entire year committed to adding strength. He hit the gym any chance he got, especially on off days during the season in the WHL. Despite playing a lot of minutes and dealing with a hectic travel schedule, Sanheim increased his weight, which is difficult and rare for a player to accomplish.
He took one week off after the season but hasn’t missed a beat the entire summer. Listed at 6-foot-3, 189 pounds when he was drafted, the 19 year old said he was just over 200 pounds at the Development Camp, which was held in early July.
“I feel a big difference from this year over last year,” Sanheim said. “I can control guys more and can play stronger. One-on-ones are a lot easier for me. Hopefully that continues and gets better as well.”
In 67 games with the Calgary Hitmen, Sanheim scored 15 goals, added 50 assists and was selected as one of 40 players for Canada’s World Juniors camp that was held in early August. His stock is clearly rising and he is considered one of the top prospects in the organization.
“I want to finish the summer off strong and put on more strength and come into Flyers camp and have the best opportunity I can,” Sanheim said. “If I have to go back to Calgary, it will not be a disappointment to me but I want to give myself the best opportunity to make the Flyers – and not just for this year but going forward for years to come.”