The deal carries an average annual value of $4.675 million, general manager Chuck Fletcher announced in a press release, and all but locks up Philadelphia’s roster for training camp.
The Flyers have shuffled many defensemen off and on their depth chart this offseason, but Sanheim was one they clearly did not want to lose as they prepared a roster intent on returning to the playoffs. Though Philadelphia stumbled through the shortened season, and missed the postseason, Sanheim impressed on the back line, finishing with three goals and 15 points. He skated in 55 of 56 games, and averaged 21:53 time on ice.
A first-round draft choice in 2014, Sanheim, 25, has four NHL seasons on his resume, all with the Flyers, and has 22 goals and 85 points.
A left-handed shot, Sanheim is an even-strength specialist for the Flyers and is part of a strong core on the blue line that now features Ryan Ellis and Rasmus Ristolainen, acquired this summer from the Nashville Predators and Buffalo Sabres, respectively.
Philadelphia is led on the blue line by Ivan Provorov, a top-tier defenseman who finished last season with 26 points, and is expected to partner with Ellis this season. Sanheim is likely to play on the Flyers’ second line with Ristolainen.
The Flyers’ other arbitration-eligible player was goaltender Carter Hart, who signed a three-year, $11.9 million contract earlier this month. Hart, 22, was near the top of Philadelphia’s list of problems last year, finishing with a 9-11-5 record and a 3.67 goals-against average in 27 appearances.