Carter Hart

Travis Sanheim proving he doesn't belong in AHL

justsports-photography-travis-sanheim-phantoms-3.jpg
JustSports Photography

Travis Sanheim proving he doesn't belong in AHL

Before this week begins, it's time for our weekly check-in on the Flyers' prospects playing in the AHL, overseas and at the junior and college levels.

With teammate Tom Dougherty working the Olympics this month for NBC, I'll be chipping in with our Future Flyers Report the next few weeks.

So let's get into it:

Travis Sanheim, D, 21, 6-4/199, Lehigh Valley (AHL)
As expected, since being sent down to the Phantoms, Sanheim has shown that offensive potential everyone loves about his game. Through eight contests with Lehigh Valley, the 2014 first-round pick has eight points, featuring seven assists.

This was a big week as Sanheim went off for six points (one goal, five assists) in three straight wins for the Phantoms.

With the Flyers turning to Brandon Manning as their sixth defenseman, Sanheim had become a healthy scratch for nine of his last 10 games in orange and black. General manager Ron Hextall's philosophy is developing prospects through playing, so Sanheim on Jan. 22 was shipped to the AHL, where he's doing just that.

The Flyers obviously want to see him grow in his all-around game and defensive responsibilities. Sanheim is a smart kid and understands that. His game is ready for the NHL, but right now, the Flyers aren't ready to play him every night.

"Overall, just trying to play well in all areas," Sanheim said Friday, via InsideAHLHockey.com. "I've been playing quite a bit, so all the situations, just trying to make sure that I'm improving in those areas. I think I've seen some improvements throughout my game."

Carter Hart, G, 19, 6-1/177, Everett (WHL)
It seems like Hart setting a record or claiming an award has become the norm.

The 2016 second-round pick pitched a 23-save shutout in the Silvertips' 5-0 win over Vancouver Saturday. The victory was significant on multiple fronts because it marked Hart's 26th career shutout, tying the Western Hockey League record, and his 107th career win, matching Everett's all-time record.

Hart leads the WHL in goals-against average at 1.53 (next closest is Cole Kehler at 2.77) and save percentage at .952 (next closest is Patrick Dea at .914).

Matthew Strome, LW, 19, 6-3/201, Hamilton (OHL)
Strome went off for a four-point game Sunday in the Bulldogs' 5-2 win over Morgan Frost-led Sault Ste. Marie. Strome potted his 30th goal of the season and tallied three assists.

Knocked for his skating struggles, Strome certainly looked OK here on these two helpers.

A fourth-round pick this summer, Strome has 56 points (30 goals, 26 assists) in 52 games this season.

Quick hits
• Although he was surprisingly held off the score sheet and finished a minus-3 Sunday, Frost scored two goals Thursday in the Greyhounds' 4-3 win over Niagara, giving him 32 on the season. He still leads the OHL with 88 points and a plus-51 rating.

• Speaking of 30-goal seasons, Isaac Ratcliffe picked up his 30th on an overtime winner to lift Guelph past Saginaw, 4-3, Friday. 

The 6-foot-6 winger added his 31st Sunday in a 3-2 OT loss to London.

Nicolas Aube-Kubel had a three-point week for the Phantoms during their three-game winning streak. The 21-year-old winger scored his 14th goal of the season in Friday's 5-1 win over Hershey and recorded two assists in Wednesday's 4-3 decision over Charlotte. The 2014 second-round pick has 32 points in 50 games after putting up 18 in 71 last season.

Philippe Myers missed one of Lehigh Valley's three games this week, while Samuel Morin (undisclosed injury), who was getting in work at Flyers Skate Zone last Monday, has not played since Jan. 20.

• After going scoreless in five straight games, Mikhail Vorobyev had a goal and an assist in the Phantoms' 5-3 win over Rochester Saturday, while Oskar Lindblom had an assist, his only point during the week.

German Rubtsov, the Flyers' 2016 first-round pick, has missed five straight games with an undisclosed injury. The 19-year-old has 23 points (nine goals, 14 assists) in 24 games since being traded to Acadie-Bathurst Titan.

David Kase had three points (two goals, one assist) and a slick shootout winner in a 5-4 Mora IK win Sunday over Färjestad BK.

• Sixth-round pick Anthony Salinitri is riding a five-game point streak in which he has six goals and an assist.

• Big Ten products Cooper Marody and Tanner Laczynski have kept a steady pace. Marody, tied for second in the Big Ten with 23 assists, registered a two-point game (one goal, one assist) in Michigan's 3-2 win Saturday over Michigan State, while Laczynski leads the conference with 25 helpers for Ohio State.

2 Flyers prospects have grown by 'leaps and bounds'

ap-mikhail-vorobyev-flyers.jpg
AP Images

2 Flyers prospects have grown by 'leaps and bounds'

Before this week begins, it’s time for our weekly check-in on the Flyers’ prospects playing in the AHL, overseas and at the junior and college levels.

Mikhail Vorobyev, C, 21, 6-2/207, Lehigh Valley (AHL)
Vorobyev returned to action last week after missing more than a month with an undisclosed injury. Vorobyev recorded an assist in his first game back Friday night in Lehigh Valley’s 5-2 win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. It was the Russian’s first game since Dec. 12. He was pointless in the Phantoms’ 3-2 OT loss Saturday to Utica.

“He’s another guy that is leaps and bounds from where he was at the start of the year,” Phantoms head coach Scott Gordon told NBC Sports Philadelphia last week. “It was disappointing that he got hurt when he did because he was starting to come into his own, starting to get more confidence in how he needed to play over here in a smaller rink and the spacing of it and not playing a perimeter game and getting more to the net.”

Samuel Morin, D, 22, 6-7/202, Lehigh Valley (AHL)
Morin’s latest injury forced the hulking defenseman to miss the Phantoms’ final three games before the AHL All-Star break. He's appeared in just 15 games this season because of injuries, and his most recent injury came at a time he was “playing more like the Sam that we’ve seen — that was encouraging,” Gordon said.

“It’s going to get taken care of and Sam is going to get himself back into playing shape and play the type of hockey we know that he can play,” Gordon said, “and the type of hockey that’s going to give him success in the NHL.

"The kid's game is about intimidation as far as that presence of 6-foot-7. He's got a mean edge to him when he plays. That part of the game is easy for him. What I was happy about was, his playmaking decisions with the puck in the last three games. That was something you're constantly, as a defenseman, want to get better at."

Oskar Lindblom, LW, 21, 6-1/192, Lehigh Valley (AHL)
Lindblom tallied his 13th goal of the season in the Phantoms’ final game before the break Saturday night. Gordon spoke highly of the Swedish winger’s growth throughout his first full season in North America. Gordon noted that Lindblom’s six-game pointless streak to begin the year was mostly bad luck. Lindblom has 29 points in 45 games.

"The thing that's been really impressive is,' Gordon said, "the puck started going in, but how much stuff he started creating on his own. Being in a battle with two guys and coming out with the puck. A puck that looks like it's going to get poked off his stick, he somehow manages to keep it on his stick and then makes the next play from there.

"I knew Oskar from when he was over here two years ago," Gordon said, "but I didn't know how strong he was in his battle, compete level on loose pucks in one-on-one battles. That to me, out of all of our forwards, he's head and shoulders over everybody and as a result, a lot of his offense comes from stuff like that. He makes plays to his linemates that other players might not get the opportunity because they don't even get to start with the puck because they can't compete and battle the way he does."

Quick hits
Felix Sandstrom remains on loan to IK Oskarshamn of the Allsvenskan. He has a .914 save percentage and 2.65 goals-against average in four games with Oskarshamn.

• Phantoms center Mike Vecchione has a three-game goal streak and a four-game point streak. Here is Vecchione’s goal Saturday night that extended his goal streak.

• After his 20-game point streak ended, Sault Ste. Marie’s Morgan Frost has ignited another. He had a seven-point week in three games and has points in his last four games. He leads the OHL plus/minus (51) and is second in points (79) assists (51).

Isaac Ratcliffe (Guelph) had a monster game Friday against Flint, registering his first career OHL hat trick and picking up an assist. He’s up to 26 goals in 46 games.

Carter Hart’s 13-game winning streak ended in Everett’s 3-2 shootout loss Saturday night to Seattle. Hart leads the WHL in GAA (1.51) and save percentage (.953).

• Acadie-Bathurst forward German Rubtsov missed two games last week but returned Friday with a goal and an assist. Rubtsov has 23 points in 23 games with the Titan and 34 points in 34 games overall this season.

Pascal Laberge stayed hot last week for Quebec, picking up two assists Saturday and extending his point streak to five games. That streak ended Sunday. He has 10 points in his past 11 games.

• Michigan’s Cooper Marody, who was among the initial Hobey Baker nominees, is pointless in his past four games.

Tanner Laczynski extended his point streak to 10 games last week. He has 15 points during his current streak and is tied for third in the country with 36 points this season.

Samuel Morin's frustrating season continues

ap-samuel-morin-flyers.jpg
AP Images

Samuel Morin's frustrating season continues

Before this week begins, it’s time for our weekly check-in on the Flyers’ prospects playing in the AHL, overseas and at the junior and college levels.

Samuel Morin, D, 22, 6-7/202, Lehigh Valley (AHL)
It’s been a roller-coaster season for the 2013 first-round pick for many reasons, and the frustration continued last week for Morin. In the third period of the Phantoms’ 5-2 win over Hershey Saturday in the AHL Outdoor Classic, Morin departed with another injury. The injury may have occurred on this poke check, but there was no update postgame.

Morin has appeared in 15 of the Phantoms’ 42 games because of injury and a brief two-game cup of coffee with the Flyers. It appeared Morin played well enough to make the Flyers out of training camp and stayed with the big club on the team’s opening four-game West Coast trip but didn’t play. Then on Oct. 29, the Flyers announced Morin would be called up as a spot opened up, but then discovered he was injured.

We don’t know how long Morin will miss with his most recent injury or if he will miss any time at all. The Phantoms play Wednesday night, but a season like this could harm a young player’s confidence. One, many believe Morin should be with the Flyers, and if you ask him, he’d tell you the same. Add injuries to the mix, and it’s the perfect storm.

Wade Allison, RW, 20, 6-2/205, Western Michigan (NCAA)
Allison’s breakout sophomore season is over. He will miss the remainder of the season after suffering a lower-body injury in the first period of the Broncos’ game on Jan. 13. The 20-year-old was among the initial list of 74 nominees for the Hobey Baker Award. Before the injury, Allison was among the nation’s top scorers with 15 goals and 30 points in 22 games. We’ll see how the injury affects his decision to turn pro next season.

Pascal Laberge, C, 19, 6-1/192, Quebec (QMJHL)
Laberge, another prospect who’s had an up-and-down season, has trended upward over his last nine games with the Remparts, as he becomes more acclimated to his new club. The 19-year-old had two goals and two assists in three games last week for Quebec to extend his point streak to four games and he’s now averaging a point per game over his past nine games. Laberge’s story is one to root for and this season's been another rocky one for him. He’s battled inconsistency, and a trade, which, compared to the past, seem like small potatoes. But he’s on his best nine-game stretch this season, and we'll see if his recent showing will allow him to finish the year strong.

Quick hits
Morgan Frost saw his 20-game point streak end Friday night but picked up an assist in Sault Ste. Marie’s 4-2 loss to Flint. Frost had 45 points during his point streak. 

Philippe Myers registered his third goal of the season and his first since Oct. 28 last Wednesday night in the Phantoms’ 4-1 loss to the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins.

Myers’ first professional season has been met with injuries, but when he’s been on the ice, he’s making progress. He has eight assists and 11 points in 25 games this season.

• How did Carter Hart respond to allowing three goals on Jan. 14 for the first time since Nov. 10? You guessed right. Hart pitched another shutout Saturday night — his sixth of the season — and then extended his winning streak to 12 games Sunday.

Alex Lyon was excellent in net for the Phantoms on Saturday night vs. the Bears, turning aside 41 of 43 shots. He’s been better since returning Dec. 26 to Lehigh Valley.

• Hamilton’s Matthew Strome is enjoying a three-game goal streak. He has 28 goals in 43 games this season.