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Flyers Dilemma: What to do with Sam Ersson and the Goalies?



Sam Ersson, Philadelphia Flyers
Sam Ersson stops the Ducks' Mason McTavish on Monday. The Flyers won, 4-1, and Ersson was 3-0 on the trip. Photo: AP.

The Philadelphia Flyers have a goalie dilemma.

A good dilemma, if you will.

Carter Hart, 24, is clearly their No. 1 goaltender, but they suddenly have a backup, Sam Ersson, who looks like he can establish himself in the NHL.

Errson, 23, was excellent as the Flyers swept three road games in California for the first time in franchise history. He was the winner in each game and compiled a 2.00 goals-against average and .930 save percentage.

Here’s the dilemma: If the Flyers keep Ersson on the roster, what do they do with Felix Sandstrom?

Sandstrom, who turns 26 next week, would have to clear waivers to be sent to the AHL’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms, and the Flyers don’t want to risk losing him. He’s got some promise, too.

Ersson so far has looked better than fellow-Swede Sandstrom, but he doesn’t need waivers and he needs to play to stay sharp. So do the Flyers take the easy way out and demote him to Lehigh Valley despite his strong West Coast showing?

Needs to play

If they keep Ersson, they should play him much more often than they were using Sandstrom. The extra rest could benefit Hart, and Ersson needs to show what he can do. Though he has opened eyes, he obviously can’t be judged on just four NHL games.

The Philadelphia Flyers could keep three goalies, but that seems highly unlikely because one of them would rarely play.

As for Hart, he has been cleared from concussion protocol. In fact, he could have played Monday, but coach John Tortorella wanted to get a longer look at Ersson, who led the team to a 4-1 win and stopped 28 of 29 shots.

“He’s super impressive,” sizzling right winger Travis Konecny said after Ersson’s latest win. “He’s so calm back there. It looks like he’s been here for a while.”

The Flyers are building for the future. They need more young talent and more high draft picks. Would they do the unthinkable and put Hart on the trade block — he should garner a couple first-round picks and some gifted prospects — and build that way?

That’s highly doubtful. But if Ersson keeps emerging, it at least gives them something to think about.

At this point, GM Chuck Fletcher needs to consider all options.


Konecny has a four-game goal streak, one shy of equaling his career high set in 2019. He also has an eight-game road point streak, during which he has seven goals and five assists. … Joel Farabee has five points (2-3) over his last six games. … Scott Laughton has a season-high four-game point streak (3-3). He has nine points (5-4) over his last eight games.

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