Travis Sanheim couldn’t find his game at times this season for the Flyers. His lowlight of the season was the minus-six game against the Rangers, and he had more downs than ups throughout the year.
Sanheim, 25, now has three-plus NHL seasons under his belt. He’s entering what should be his prime in the coming years with the Flyers. However, it didn’t look that way this season.
Sanheim discussed his struggles with Phil Myers, the difficulty of playing through this COVID season, his plans this summer as a restricted free agent, and more.
Travis Sanheim Exit Interview
Do you feel like losing veterans had an impact on the penalty killing of why it struggled this year?
Maybe you got some new faces, new guys, learning new roles. At the end of the day, there’s too many breakdowns, too many goals against and that’s on everyone. That’s on the PKers, the goaltender, coaching staff. Obviously, we need to figure that out going into next season. It comes down to willingness of wanting to kill the penalty and wanting to block the shot, wanting to sacrifice yourself. So something that we’re going to do next season.
How do you think you were able to kind of adapt the different situations you were put in on defense? Do you feel there are some specific areas for you to look for improvement for next season?
Honestly, you don’t make the playoffs I think everyone’s got to improve. Everyone needs to be better. A lot of areas that I’m going to work on this summer and continue to try to grow my game, trying to get better at various areas of my game. I think I had a pretty good start. Pretty consistent for the first couple months. Obviously, COVID hit there. As a group, we got a little bit uneven through the middle. March wasn’t a good month and wasn’t a good month for me as well. Obviously, there’s challenges along the way. Every team, every player handles them differently. Those are good experiences for me and something that I’ll learn from them. Just got to be better going into next season. I played a lot of different partners this season. That was a new challenge for me. I played the left, played the right, played PK, and played a little bit of power play. A lot of different roles for me and something that I can grow on.
What went wrong with your partnership with Phil Myers, particularly in March? Why weren’t you guys able to replicate how you’d succeeded together in the past?
I think me and Phil had good stretches, had a good games. Obviously, you can look at the Rangers game and a couple others where you are minus. Saying that it’s a team effort and a lot of other areas that were issues as well. We both want to be better. We want to play together. We want to succeed. I can’t pinpoint one area, but I wouldn’t necessarily say that it was all bad.
Were their unique mental challenges in this season where when you’re going through a tough month, it’s a little more difficult to maybe get away from hockey and not think about it as much?
For sure. We went through that spell with COVID. Went to Lake Tahoe, which was another stressful trip where you got a long flight both ways and you’re only there for a day and a half to play a game and coming back. You got to jump right back into a full schedule again. There’s a lot of areas that were there were stressful on our group. Me going minus-six against New York, to be able to mentally come back the next night and play against the Islanders. That’s challenging. That was a good experience for me honestly. It’s going to make me a better player. It’s going to make me understand those situations better because it’s going to happen again. At the end of the day, some of the best players in the world still have off nights, have nights where the pucks just not going their way. Learn from those areas and be better next season.
What have your intentions going to be as a restricted free agent? Do you want to engage talk right away? Do you want to take a little bit of time and what is your desire to be in Philadelphia?
Obviously I want to stay in Philly. I love the city. I love the group, the team and the coaching staff. Hopefully we can get something done here, sooner than later. I’m sure we’ll start talking in the next couple of weeks as things start to settle down. Not too worried or focused on the Expansion Draft. It’ll be what it’ll be. More worried about staying here in Philly and what we got going on here.
Transcript via Philadelphia Flyers