The Philadelphia Flyers tried to hide a polarizing transaction by announcing it the morning following an Eagles NFC Championship win, but fans noticed. The team has sent Travis Sanheim down to the AHL and called up right-handed defenseman Mark Alt.
Sanheim has been a healthy scratch for nine of the Flyers’ last ten games with his lone appearance being a contest where he logged 6:02 against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on January 13th. Both he and Taylor Leier were part of a lineup shakeup from head coach Dave Hakstol following a 3-2 loss to the Florida Panthers on December 28th and neither have really managed to work their way back into the coach’s good graces.
The Sanheim Saga has seemed to grow by the day over the last week or so, which included a pretty remarkable quote coming from Flyers’ GM Ron Hextall. It seems as though Hextall didn’t want to overrule his head coach on a lineup decision, but evidently also wanted the rookie to play some hockey games.
Sanheim has formed a pretty acceptable pairing with Radko Gudas, but poor puck luck has most likely caused the blue liner to sit. The pair’s 57.64 corsi for percentage is third and their 57.44 expected goals for percentage is seventh among 91 defensive pairings that have played at least 200 5-on-5 minutes together this season, according to Corsica.Hockey. Unfortunately, the pair’s 94.5 PDO is 89th among those 91 defensive pairings. So far this season, Sanheim has one goal, four helpers, 12 penalty minutes, and 48 shots on goal in 35 games.
Alt will most likely spend this recall in the press box unless there is an injury. He has zero points, two penalty minutes, and five shots on goal while averaging 13:25 a game in eight tilts with the Orange and Black this season. He has five goals and five assists, along with eight penalty minutes and 48 shots on goal, in 23 games with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms this season. According to Natural Stat Trick, Alt has a -5.34 corsi for percentage relative in 98:25 5-on-5 play this season for the Flyers. He has a 3.11 corsi for percentage relative in the AHL, according to Brad Keffer’s Phancy Stats.