Up until the final minutes before the draft, the Flyers were rumored to have serious interest in acquiring the 1st overall pick. Instead, they decided the inclusion of winger Wayne Simmonds was too rich a price to move up that far and Ron Hextall and company decided to stay put with their 17th overall pick.
After being unable to move up in the draft like many speculated he would, some thought Hextall would settle to even move into the top ten of the draft. Instead, the top of the draft stayed relatively true to its original form and Philadelphia went on the clock just before 9:00 PM. Some thought Philadelphia might pull the trigger on a winger, most notably either Alex Tuch or Kasperi Kapanen, given their trend of picking defensemen the past few seasons. Instead, after preaching the importance of the blue line in the weeks leading up to the draft, Hextall continued the trend and drafted blue liner Travis Sanheim out of Manitoba with their first round pick.
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) June 28, 2014
The 6’3″ Sanheim was considered one of the late risers in the class and boosted his stock with an impressive showing with the Canadian Under-18 team in the months leading into the draft. The 18-year-old will most likely need a fair amount of seasoning, much like last year’s pick Sam Morin, but the draft broadcast brought up the name Ryan McDonagh as a lofty comparison. Flyers fans know all too well how impressive a player the Rangers blue liner is, so that’s something to be excited about. Here is a talent analysis, courtesy of Hockey’s Future.
Sanheim has limited experience in WHL with only one season in the books. Puck-moving defenseman with very good vision. Progressed very quickly with increased ice time during second half of season. Tall frame with room to add weight.