Continuing with addressing defensive depth as we did in our last Draft
Options column, Montreal may want to keep an eye on the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen defenseman Travis Sanheim. The young man from Elkhorn, Manitoba, has turned some heads as scouts didn’t have him on the radar as the 2013-2014 season got underway but now some see a potential first-round draft pick.
Born: Mar 29, 1996 – Elkhorn, Manitoba
Height: 6’3” Weight: 189 lbs Shoots: Left
ISS Rank: 30 THN Rank: 53 McKeens Rank: 15
If there’s one thing in common that the scouting reports are saying about Sanheim, it’s that he’s made enormous steps in his game over the course of a single season. In his first year of junior hockey, the young man has made waves, the crowning achievement being his play at the U18 World Championships with Canada, leading the team’s defenceman with
six assists in seven games.
His height and size seems to be up for debate come draft time as some scouting reports have him at 6’3 and 189 pounds, while others have him at 6’4 and 205 pounds. So, if it’s the former, 189’s a little lean for the NHL at that height. If it’s the latter, he got the memo and bulked up.
Sanheim is a big body but he doesn’t use it to distribute physical punishment. While reports have him as more than willing to play the body and use his reach to put offensive players off balance, he’s not skating around looking to take your head off.
He is pegged as a big, smart defenseman who can join the attack and contribute with offensive-zone savvy and strong skating stride to boot up and down the ice.
Oddly enough, the knocks on his game come at the back end. It seems he’s got some work to do on his shot as it lacks heaviness and zip at the professional level. He has been known to buckle while under defensive-zone pressure. Consistency and questionable decision-making in his own end has also come up in a range of reports.