PHILADELPHIA – Getting defenseman Travis Sanheim signed to a long-term contract extension was one of the last things on Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher’s to-do list.
That item was checked off on Thursday night when the team announced it had signed the 26-year-old backliner to an eight-year, $50-million deal ($6.25-million AAV).
Sanheim is viewed as one of the key players in the Flyers’ future, so it was a good day for everyone involved in the negotiations.
“Obviously, I’m really excited,’’ Sanheim said. “It’s a huge day not only for me, but for my family and friends as well. To be drafted not only by Philly, but in Philly, and now to sign a long-term deal here, it means a lot. I love this city, love the fan base and I’m excited to turn this around and get things going. There’s no better place to win than Philly.”
Fletcher sounded equally pleased.
“We’re extremely happy to have Travis under long-term contract and see him as a key piece of our team’s future,” said Fletcher. “Travis has improved each season to become a highly reliable player and key contributor on our blueline. Furthermore, he is someone who has developed his entire career with us and has grown into a valuable leader for our team.”
After Thursday night’s 5-2 win over the Devils, Sanheim said both he and his mom shed a tear or two when he phoned home to Canada.
“It’s a huge day for me and my family,” he said. “It wasn’t an ideal day for the home opener. Didn’t get my afternoon nap in. But I’m glad we won, it made the day that much better. Just an all-around great day. Super thrilled. Appreciative of them to extend me that long. I’m happy to be here for another eight years.
“It just kind of takes that distraction away. Now I can just go out and play. The success has been here the past couple years but I believe in this group. This is a sports city. For me, personally, this is the place I want to win. Word got around today that I signed. But the bigger thing was the call to my parents. It was a special moment to share that with them. Tears in my eyes, tears in my mom’s eyes. Coming from a small town, it was a really great day.”
Sanheim recorded seven goals/31 points in 80 games last season.
The 6-foot-4, 208-pound native of Elkhorn, Manitoba, led the Flyers with a plus-9 rating, ranked second in average time on ice (22:58) and blocked shots, third in even-strength points (31) and T-3rd in assists. He led team defensemen in assists, ranked T-1st in points and second in goals and shots. He set career highs in plus/minus rating, PIM and shots on goal.
The left-shot blueliner recorded a season-high four-game point streak, Dec. 14-29, 2021, netted his third career overtime goal on Jan. 31 at Boston to become the fifth defenseman in Flyers history to own three-plus overtime goals, and skated in his 300th NHL game on Feb. 12 at Detroit.
Sanheim owns 116 points in 335 career games in five seasons with Philadelphia (2017-22). He ranks seventh all-time amongst Flyers defensemen with 462 blocked shots. He also owns eight points (two goals)) and one GWG in 20 career Stanley Cup playoff contests.
He was selected by Philadelphia in the first round (17th overall) of the 2014 NHL Draft and made his NHL debut on Oct. 5, 2017 at Los Angeles.