The Philadelphia Flyers surprisingly filed for team-selected arbitration with defenseman Travis Sanheim on Monday. It’s rare for a team to file for arbitration rather than the player doing so, but that’s the case here with Sanheim.
A team-selected arbitration case with Sanheim would allow the defenseman to choose a one- or two-year deal at the arbiter’s salary. However, the two sides can still negotiate and come to terms before then. It wouldn’t be surprising if the Flyers and Sanheim do just that.
Arbitration date set for Travis Sanheim
The Flyers and Travis Sanheim are set for an arbitration hearing on August 26th, the NHLPA announced Thursday. It’s the last possible date for arbitration hearings. It gives the two sides an extra few weeks to negotiate.
Sanheim, 25, is coming off of a two-year bridge deal that paid him $3.25 million per year. The two seasons covered by the contract (2019-20 and 2020-21) were two very different types of seasons for the defenseman.
In the 2019-20 season, Sanheim broke out as a top-four defenseman with Philippe Myers. At times they were the team’s best defensive pair and looked to be the future of the Flyers’ blue line. Then the two fell flat last season. Sanheim was able to bounce back and had a decent season all things considered. Myers did a bit as well, but he was sent to Nashville in the trade for Ryan Ellis.
Will Sanheim re-sign before August 26th?
Now, Sanheim is at a crossroads with the Flyers. It’s likely that he’ll sign a contract before arbitration, which can be a tense situation. The Flyers will bring their case against Sanheim to keep his salary down. Bringing up a player’s negative attributes isn’t going to leave a great taste in their mouth when it comes time to negotiate again. Sanheim can choose to be a free agent at the end of a two-year deal if the case goes to arbitration. The Flyers would then risk losing him for nothing in free agency.
Sanheim is in his prime and is expected to be a big part of the Flyers’ defense for years to come. The two-way defenseman saw his ice time increase in each of his four NHL seasons. He played 15:35 as a rookie, then 19:34 in his first full season, 20:09 two seasons ago, and 21:53 in 2021. He’ll likely be above the 22-minute mark in the 2021-22 season.
With the trades, NHL draft, and free agency behind him, Chuck Fletcher now has his sights set on re-signing Travis Sanheim and Carter Hart. The clock is ticking.
Photo: Heather Barry Images