2014 NHL Draft - Round 1

One day after sending him back to junior, Flyers ink 1st-rounder Sanheim


Eventful last 24 hours for Travis Sanheim.

Sent packing from Flyers training camp yesterday, Sanheim — the club’s first-round pick (17th overall) at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft — signed his entry-level contract on Thursday, the club announced.

While he’ll spend this season in WHL Calgary, getting Sanheim signed is a welcome development for the Flyers. He, along with ’13 first-rounder Samuel Morin and former NCAA standout Shayne Gostisbehere, is expected to be a key part of Philly’s future blueline — one that looks pretty promising, based on this year’s camp (which Morin and Gostisbehere are still a part of.)

Though Sanheim was sent back to junior after just one preseason game, reports suggest he acquitted himself well. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound rearguard has been steadily on the rise; he made big jumps up various boards as he got closer to the draft, and wound up being the fourth blueliner selected, behind Florida’s Aaron Ekblad, Carolina’s Haydn Fleury and Dallas’ Julius Honka.

Flyers send ’14 first-rounder Sanheim back to junior

Washington Capitols v Philadelphia Flyers

Travis Sanheim’s time with Philadelphia is over after just one game.

Sanheim, the club’s first-round pick (17th overall) at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, has been sent back to his junior team in WHL Calgary, according to the Courier-Post.

(Sanheim also tweeted the news himself.)

The 6-foot-3, 190-pound blueliner made his NHL preseason debut in Monday’s 5-4 split-squad win over Washington, logging just over 18 minutes of ice time. While he wasn’t expected to make the Flyers this season, some thought Sanheim may have warranted a lengthier stay at camp given his pedigree, a good showing at rookie camp and the fact Philly’s blueline is pretty thin with Kimmo Timonen out indefinitely (blood clots).

That said, the decision to send Sanheim down is consistent with Philly’s recent approach. Last year, the Flyers returned their other first-round defensman — Samuel Morin, taken 11th overall — to junior after he played one exhibition game.

Avs send ’14 first-rounder Bleackley back to junior (and Roy’s not happy with why it happened)

2014 NHL Draft - Round 1

Conner Bleackley’s time with the Colorado Avalanche is over after just one game.

Bleackley, the 23rd overall pick at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, was sent back to WHL Red Deer on Tuesday — the day after playing 10:53 in a split-squad loss to the Anaheim Ducks.

The 18-year-old wasn’t expected to make the Avs roster this year — in July, Red Deer coach Brent Sutter said Bleackley’s “not ready for NHL hockey” — but this is a pretty quick exit from training camp.

The guy taken one spot ahead of Bleackley in June, Kasperi Kapanen, is expected to get a long look while trying to crack the Penguins roster; the guy taken two spots after Bleackley, Nikita Scherbak, was named player of the game in Montreal’s intra-squad scrimmage on Monday and will play in tonight’s preseason opener against Boston.


More light has been shed on the Bleackley situation and that of another fellow Avs prospect, Chris Bigras (32nd overall, ’13).

From the Denver Post:

Roy said he was disappointed in Bleackley and the Avs’ top pick in 2013, Chris Bigras, who also was sent back to his junior team. The coach said Bleackley, a forward, did not come into his first NHL training camp in adequate shape, and defenseman Bigras did not play as well as last year.

Drouin is ‘over’ being sent back to junior, aims to make Tampa this year

Jonathan Drouin

When Tampa Bay Lightning 2013 first-round pick Jonathan Drouin didn’t make the team out of training camp last season, it came as a big surprise to most.

After all, he just had a monster season in the QMJHL with Halifax and it was assumed the Lightning could use the help. Instead, Drouin was sent back to Halifax where he could’ve sulked, but rather he got better and is ready to make an impact on the Lightning this season as Tal Pinchevsky of NHL.com shared.

“I think I’m over [being sent back]. I don’t want to think about it too much. In the end, it was their decision to send me back to juniors for another year,” Drouin said. “Obviously you want to prove them wrong, but as the year went on I think I was playing more for the Mooseheads than anything else. You forget about being cut and you move on a little bit. It was a big deal, but I’m only 19 years old. I have many years in front of me to try to make the club.”

While he’s 19, he’s coming off another monster season in the QMJHL where he had 29 goals and 79 assists. The previous season saw him score 41 goals so he’s got the skills to fill the net and help others.

Adding that sort of ability to the current Lightning roster could make them serious contenders to win the Eastern Conference next season. If Drouin can fit in seamlessly he could also be looking at a Calder Trophy as well. He may have been disappointed with being sent back last year, but big things are coming.

Sabres send Grigorenko back to juniors… again

Mikhail Grigorenko

The writing has been on the wall for a while now, but the Buffalo Sabres are sending Mikhail Grigorenko back to his junior team for the second consecutive season.

Interim coach Ted Nolan announced that Grigorenko was being sent back to the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL following Sabres practice this morning. Grigorenko had said he wanted to stay with the Sabres, but that won’t be happening.

Grigorenko, 19, was a first-round pick in 2012 and has had  three coaches during his two NHL seasons. Last season, Grigorenko played 25 games under Lindy Ruff and Ron Rolston before being sent back to Quebec.

This season, Grigorenko was routinely placed on the fourth line with John Scott and Patrick Kaleta under Rolston and while he’s had a few games with Nolan, he was allowed to play in the World Junior Championships for Russia. Because of his age, he’s ineligible to play in the American Hockey League until his junior team’s season is over.

Now that he’s through two years of his entry-level deal without any real success at the NHL level, there are questions about just how good he is. Lighting up the QMJHL one more time may not prove that.