Flyers agree to two-year contract with Travis Sanheim
There won’t be an arbitration hearing this year after all. Flyers defender Travis Sanheim was the last player linked to the arbitration without a contract, but that has changed as Sportsnet Elliott Friedman reports that the blueliner has agreed to a two-year deal with an AAV of $ 4.675 million. PuckPedia Reports that the structure of the agreement is as follows:
2021-22: $ 4 million salary
2022-2023: $ 5.35 million in salary
The 25-year-old signed a two-year stint contract two summers ago after finishing his career best season with 35 points. At the time, he was expected to continue his ascent and ideally become a top defenseman for Philadelphia. That didn’t exactly happen, however. In particular, Sanheim struggled last season, recording just 15 points in 55 games despite scoring 21:53 per game (also a career-high). There’s no question that Sanheim is still a big part of the Flyers’ future, but the exact role isn’t as certain as it seems.
This is where this agreement comes in. The two-year term essentially amounts to a second bridging deal, giving the Flyers and Sanheim more time to assess his value and role in the long term. Notably, it also leads him to unrestricted free agency in 2023. It’s not an ideal scenario for the Flyers, but when they chose to bring him to arbitration earlier this month, it created the situation for that to happen. Sanheim could have simply elected the two-year term and tried his luck with the referee. They can avoid the hearing with this contract, but it will still be able to access the open market in its first eligible year.
Sanheim should stay behind Ivan Provorov on the left side of a new-look Philadelphia back-end that now features Ryan Ellis, who was brought in from Nashville, plus veteran Keith Yandle to replace the offense that Shayne Gostisbehere provided because it was moved as part of a clearing move to Arizona.
There won’t be any more reshuffles coming up for the Flyers, at least not without matching money. This move essentially consumes all of their remaining cap space and will likely see them carrying less than the 23 skaters maximum to start the season. But with the changes on the back end and the addition of Cam Atkinson Up front, general manager Chuck Fletcher got the base reshuffle he wanted, and with Sanheim signing he has his full roster under contract. Will it be enough to return to the playoffs in what projects to be a tight metropolitan division? We will find out soon enough once the season is launched.