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Only Bronze? Full Review of Flyers at 2024 World Championships

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(Photo: AP)

The 2024 IIHF Men’s World Championships is officially in the books as the hosts, Czechia, emphatically concluded their campaign on home ice with a 2-0 win over Switzerland to win the gold medal on Sunday. The final outcome of the tournament was heavily geared in favor of New Jersey Devils fans, with Czech veteran Ondrej Palat squaring off with Swiss teammates Nico Hischier, Jonas Siegenthaler, and Akira Schmid. The Philadelphia Flyers had their fair share of representatives, though, and they performed to mixed degrees of success.

Let’s dive in.

Forward Joel Farabee and rookie goalie Sam Ersson were the Flyers’ only active representatives in Czechia this month. Farabee played more in a reserve role for Team USA, primarily featuring on the third line alongside former Flyers forward Kevin Hayes and Anaheim Ducks youngster Trevor Zegras.

The 24-year-old picked up his first of two points – a primary assist on Shane Pinto’s goal – in a 5-4 overtime loss to Slovakia on May 13. Just over a week later, on May 21, Farabee scored his lone goal of the World Championships – an empty-net goal in a 6-3 win over Latvia.

Farabee and the Americans would ultimately be felled two days later, getting blanked 1-0 by Czechia to finish the tournament in fifth place. While Farabee didn’t play poorly individually, his line with Hayes and Zegras was too redundant. They are three players who see, think, and play the game very similarly, hence why none of them produced offensively the way they would normally be expected to.

Ersson, though primarily serving as Filip Gustavsson’s understudy for Sweden, was more fortunate, medaling internationally for the first time in his career. Sweden defeated Canada by a score of 4-2 in the bronze medal fixture on Sunday, making Ersson the lone current Flyer to receive a medal this year.

The 24-year-old rookie made three starts in the tournament, allowing just three goals in total and winning all of his matchups against Germany, Kazakhstan, and France, respectively. Ersson also made a relief appearance for Gustavsson against Czechia on Saturday but conceded two goals on only six shots.

Trouble arrived in the form of a former friend. Remember Lukas Sedlak?

The 31-year-old Czech forward, who played in the Flyers’ bottom-six for 27 games last year before returning home, scored not once, but twice against Ersson. Sedlak had two breakaways, scored on each, and used the same move both times. Seriously!

Sedlak scored just three goals during his unexpectedly short time with the Flyers last season, but his silky mitts showed he has more in his locker than what he was able to flex in Philadelphia.

In addition to Sedlak, former Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas also featured on Czechia’s gold medal-winning squad, commanding the top defense pairing alongside Jakub Krejcik. Gudas played in Philadelphia for four seasons, scoring 17 goals and 73 points in 290 games. That is the longest he’s been with any team during his 12-year NHL career.

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