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Flyers Could Pick Goalie In Strong Draft For Netminders

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Sam Ersson, Philadelphia Flyers. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Sam Ersson. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Carter Hart is one of the Philadelphia Flyers’ real strengths, a goaltender around whom the team can build.

What if Hart is traded? It’s not impossible, according to general manager Daniel Briere. It a trade happens, what would be left for the Philadelphia Flyers in goal? Would the Flyers think about picking a goalie in the draft? Yes, they would.

Felix Sandström, 26, started 18 games and went 3-12-3 with a 3.72 goals-against average and a .880 save percentage. His fellow Swede, 23-year-old Sam Ersson, started 10 games and went 6-3. His numbers were better — 3.07 goals-against average and .899 save percentage.

Ersson won four consecutive starts, all on the road, in December and January. He allowed 11 goals in the six wins. He didn’t look overmatched, even playing behind a weak defense.

Hart, who will turn 25 in August, was 22-23-10 with a 2.94 goals-against average and .907 save percentage.

The Flyers also picked up veteran Cal Petersen from the Kings in the Ivan Provorov trade.

Aleksei Kolosov was the Flyers’ 2021 third-round pick, 78th overall. He’s playing in the KHL with Dinamo Minsk. He’s only 21 so he is worth tracking.

Draft For Depth

This week’s draft is a chance for the Flyers to build organizational goaltender depth.

“It’s a pretty good goalie draft,” Flyers assistant general manager Brent Flahr said in a pre-draft news conference last week.

“There is depth at the goaltending position. I think you’ll see as soon as the first one goes, there is going to be a string of them go.

“There is some depth in that position, and typically we’ve always tried to take a goalie. Now if they all go, then you’re not just drafting a goalie to draft a goalie, but there is some depth, so I would assume at some point we would have a chance to get one.”

The Flyers already have one, a guy who was expected to back up Hart this past season.

Ivan Fedotov, 26, the 188th overall draft pick by the Flyers in 2015, is believed to be in Russia. Last year, he was detained in Russia for a military evasion charge.

Fedotov and his navy team are participating in the Armed Forces Ice Hockey Championships in St. Petersburg, Russia. That reportedly will complete Fedotov’s military service and he is expected to be demobilized by next month.

“If possible [Flyers will draft a goalie], but it’s pretty exciting what’s going on and what’s coming up,” general manager Daniel Briere said.

“Not just with the Flyers, but the farm system, too. We have some good goalies coming up. Guys that could turn out to be high-end.

“So yeah, we’d like if possible, to find another one and keep growing that. I don’t think in the past that’s always been a strength of the Flyers, so it’s exciting knowing that we have some prospects that could develop into really high-end goaltenders.”

Some Goalies To Watch

Here are the top goalies, according to Adam Kimelman, of NHL.com

1. Carson Bjarnason, Brandon (WHL)

The 17-year-old is the No. 1-ranked North American goalie by NHL Central Scouting.

2. Michael Hrabal, Omaha (USHL)

He is the NHL Central Scouting’s second-ranked North American goalie.

3. Trey Augustine, USA U-18 (NTDP)

Augustine was 4-1 with a 2.85 goals-against average in Team USA’s bronze medal run at the 2023 World Juniors. He is ranked third among North American goalies by NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 3 (North American goalies)

4. Jacob Fowler, Youngstown (USHL)

5. Scott Ratzlaff, Seattle (WHL)

6. Adam Gajan, Chippewa (NAHL)

7. Alexander Hellnemo, Skelleftea Jr. (SWE-JR)

8. Stephen Peck, Avon Old Farms (HIGH-CT)

9. Juha Jatkola, KalPa (FIN)

10. Tomas Suchanek, Tri-City (WHL)

________

Flyers, In Case You Missed It:

President Keith Jones said a competitive Flyers team is ‘not that far away.’

Torey Krug did nothing wrong by exercising his no-trade clause.

Around The National Hockey Network:

Boston Hockey Now: Bruins trade winger Taylor Hall and the rights to veteran winger Nick Foligno to the Blackhawks in exchange for defensemen Alec Regula and Ian Mitchell.

Buffalo Hockey Now: Could Avalanche veteran defenseman Erik Johnson be a fallback option for Sabres?

Chicago Hockey Now: Newly acquired Taylor Hall could be linemate with Connor Bedard.

Colorado Hockey Now: Newly acquired center Ryan Johansen ready to be a great asset for Avalanche.

Montreal Hockey Now: Canadiens will meet with Matvei Michkov before the draft.

Nashville Hockey Now: Former Predators goalie Pekka Rinne hired as development coach and scout.

New Jersey Hockey Now: Devils, Bruins made trade that includes a former first-round pick.

Pittsburgh Hockey Now: Kyle Dubas’ rebuild is risky but sets up Penguins’ rebuild.

Vegas Hockey Now: Taking a look at notable Golden Knights’ draft picks.

Washington Hockey Now: Unrestricted free agent winger Connor Brown would love to reunite with Connor McDavid in Edmonton.

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