The Philadelphia Flyers got one more signing in before the first puck of the 2022-23 season dropped. Announced by the team on Thursday evening, the Flyers have signed defenseman Travis Sanheim to an eight-year, $50-million deal.
This contract that carries a cap hit of $6.25-million AAV will keep Sanheim with the Flyers organization through the 2030-31 season. The 26-year-old blueliner was set to be an unrestricted free agent this summer and is currently in the final year of his two-year, $9.35-million ($4.675-million AAV) contract that he signed in Aug. 2021.
Ever since he was drafted 17th overall in the 2014 NHL Draft, Sanheim has steadily climbed up the Flyers depth chart and is now considered the best all-around defenseman by some, or at least the second-best option on the blueliner by most. Now with this eight-year deal starting up next season, the Flyers better hope that this trajectory can continue to climb or at least plateau to his current ability, to make the long-term commitment worth it in the end.
Along with Ivan Provorov and Rasmus Ristolainen, the Flyers now have three of their six defensemen tied to contracts for the next three seasons. Whether that trio of blueliners is a group you want to commit multiple years — and a combined cap hit of $18.1 million — to, is still in question, but GM Chuck Fletcher has certainly decided that he’s doing so.
Through the last three seasons, Sanheim has seen his opportunity rise and he almost broke the 23-minute mark with an average of 22:58 TOI last season. During that campaign, the 6-foot-3 defender scored seven goals and 31 points, only during his sophomore year during the 2018-19 season, he produced more offensively.
Now, with this long-term deal, the Flyers will at least have a better understanding of what their roster currently is, no matter how they perform on the ice. Maybe not the best strategy heading into a season where most people expect you to be heavily involved in the draft lottery.