Sanheim-Myers No. 2 defense pairing looks like a natural

Travis Sanheim

One was a No. 1 pick, the other undrafted.

No matter. The defense pairing of Travis Sanheim and Philippe Myers almost looks like the two men grew up together.

The chemistry is so strong between these two, Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault shows the ultimate confidence in his No. 2 tandem, putting them out in all situations and against any star line to come along.

With the playoffs about to begin, Sanheim and Myers can help the No. 1 unit of Ivan Provorov and Matt Niskanen do some of the heavy lifting, such as late in games or on the penalty kill.

Sanheim, who has the more glitzy resume having been selected 17th overall in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, says playing with Myers seems like a natural fit.

“It makes it real easy,’’ Sanheim during a Zoom teleconference call from Toronto on Friday. “Not only this year but in years past (with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms). There’s a pretty good relationship between the two of us.

“It’s pretty easy to play with a guy like that with his skill set, the way he handles himself and plays at both ends of the rink. I try to talk to him as much as I can right now. We have to work out some of the kinks early on but it shouldn’t take too long.’’

Myers didn’t make the opening night roster back in October but when he did arrive in Philadelphia, he showed an offensive flair as well as competent defensive work.

Let’s put it this way: That defense corps-leading plus-17 didn’t happen by accident.

Myers signed as a free agent back on Sept. 21, 2015. He got into 21 games last season and this season he played in 50, registering 16 points.

Sanheim played in all 69 games, posting 25 points with a plus-4.

Giving Sanheim extensive penalty kill time no doubt increased the Manitoba native’s confidence level.

“It’s something that I worked on in junior,’’ Sanheim said. “Early on I wasn’t a PKer. But I wanted to be a guy who could play in all situations.

“When I went to the American League, it was kind of the same thing. I was able to step up in that role and play a lot of minutes in that situation as well. It took a little time in the NHL but this year I think I took a step in that direction.’’

The 6-foot-5 Myers is a righty and the 6-foot-3 Sanheim is a lefty. That helps make the complementary situation even better.

“We’ve been with the Flyers organization for like five years,’’ Myers said. “We’ve played together in Lehigh, I know him a little bit personally, he’s a great guy, easy to play with.

“He skates well. He can make plays with the puck. I think we complement each other pretty well. It’s fun going through this with him. . .we’re looking forward to the playoffs here.’’

This will be Myers first playoff action at the NHL level. Does he expect any nerves?

“I’m just going to treat it like any other game,’’ he said. “Not change anything, just get ready the same way. I’ll try to bring that intensity, as much as I can. Obviously I’m going to do anything I can to help the team win.’’


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About Wayne Fish 2446 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.

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