The Flyers avoided salary arbitration with defenseman Travis Sanheim, signing the restricted free agent to a two-year deal Sunday that carries a $4.675 million average annual value.
Sanheim received a heathy raise despite a disappointing season.The Flyers’ cap hit for their seven projected defensemen will be a little higher than Vegas’ for its top seven defenders. The Golden Knights had the best defense in the NHL last season, allowing 2.18 goals per game. The Flyers surrendered a league-worst 3.52 goals per game.
The Flyers also will spend more than what two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay will pay its seven defensemen.
If money spent equates to victories, then, the rebuilt Flyers should be much improved in 2021-22.
For seven defensemen, Vegas is projected to have a $24.3 million cap hit, while Tampa’s is projected to be $25.375 million. If you include Samuel Morin as the extra defenseman, the Flyers have $25.525 million in cap hits committed to seven defenders.
Sanheim, 25, who had a $3.25 million cap hit during each of the previous two years, slipped last season (15 points, minus-22). It was his worst season in his three full years with the Flyers. The Flyers were going to take him to arbitration Thursday if they didn’t reach an agreement. Sanheim’s point totals have dropped the last three years — from 35 points in 82 games, to 25 points in 69 games, to 15 points in 55 games. His goals have gone from nine to eight to three in that span.
The Flyers are counting on Sanheim bouncing back as he is expected to be paired with recently acquired Rasmus Ristolainen.