(Photo via Ken McKenna/HF)
The Flyers announced via Twitter late Wednesday morning that they are returning Travis Sanheim, Travis Konecny and Ivan Provorov back to their respective junior hockey clubs. While there was talk of all of these guys, especially Provorov, being NHL ready, this move doesn’t come as a surprise. Ron Hextall hinted several times that he would lean towards the cautious side of things when making this decision. In sending them back after just two games of preseason action, Hextall makes it clear that he basically had his mind made up before training camp began.
This is the correct move for several fairly obvious reasons. Let’s make a list.
- Sending them back will preserve their valuable entry level contracts for another season. We’ve seen over the past few years what salary cap hell looks like, so anything that will help us avoid going back there is good.
- Each of these players still has work to do before they are NHL-ready beyond a doubt. All of them, especially Konecny, demonstrated their abilities very well during preseason action, but they also showed that they still have some fine tuning to do. They would have had to be absolutely mind blowing to stick around, and quite frankly, none of them were.
- Like I said earlier, Ron Hextall probably had his mind mostly made up heading into camp, and that’s a good thing. Honestly speaking, training camp and split-squad preseason games are not necessarily the best indicator of NHL readiness. GMs generally have a pretty good idea of which guys are NHL ready before training camp starts, and Ron Hextall went with his gut here. By sending them back early on, he avoids making an important decision based on a small and not necessarily reliable sample of information.
- It makes more room for Andrew MacDonald on the blueline (okay not this one).
There’s a lot to be excited about when it comes to the future of this franchise. All three of these guys will have a good shot at making the roster next fall, and when that point rolls around, we will probably look back on this decision as one that was uncontrovertibly the smartest one to make.