Hextall lauds the potential of future Flyers

The Flyers are stockpiling young defensemen in their system, with the latest being Friday’s first round choice Travis Sanheim. The 18-year-old Sanheim played much better in the second half of the season and impressed general manager Ron Hextall with his progress.

“We really liked him, the second half of the year the kid just rose and rose and rose,” Hextrall said. “If you look at him he is a young boy with a lot of upside who will fill out a lot bigger and we felt at that point we couldn’t go by him. “

Sanheim just adds to the list of promising defensemen in the system, which includes Shayne Gostisbehere, who was drafted in 2012 and Robert Hagg and top pick Sam Morin, who were selected last year.

Hextall concedes that Sanheim has a long way to go to get to the NHL, but he likes his potential and many of the other young players in the system, especially the defensemen.

When you look at it, we have a good young group of defensemen, and good young group of forwards on big team,” Hextall said. “That is a young group up there. These guys are going to join those young forward and 2-3-4 years and I have a mental picture in our mind and in 3-4 years, yes, I get excited, really excited.”