Felix Sandstrom: Flyers Future Backup

When it comes to goaltending in Philadelphia, the conversation typically starts and stops with the name Carter Hart. This is understandable. After years of goalie woes, Hart is finally making goalie a strength for the Flyers. Although Hart is Philadelphia’s starting netminder for the foreseeable future, he’s not the only promising player between the pipes in the Flyers system. Swedish goalie, Felix Sandstrom, is entering his first season in North America with aspirations of backing up Hart sooner than later.

Philadelphia drafted Felix Sandstrom in the third round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. Surprisingly, he wasn’t the only netminder taken by the Flyers in that draft. The Flyer selected Matej Tomek later on that round and Ivan Fedotov in the seventh round. It was a slightly bizarre draft strategy by Ron Hextall and Sandstrom became the only goalie of the three worth discussing.

To this point, Sandstrom has tended goal in Sweden, most recently for HV71 of the SHL. His numbers this year didn’t jump off the page but were solid. In 19 games, Sandstrom posted a 2.16 goals against average and a .911 save percentage.

At age 22, the time for the next step of Sandstrom’s development is now. Next season, he will make his way to North America and tend goal for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

There are a lot of questions surrounding Sandstrom’s future with the Flyers organization. Not in terms of being traded this offseason, but in terms of his fit down the road. With Carter Hart as the team’s starter, Sandstrom’s ceiling with the organization stops at NHL backup. For now, that is what he is aspiring towards.

Chuck Fletcher has made it clear that he is in the market for a veteran goalie to backup Hart next season. Of course, this will result in Sandstrom playing for the Phantoms for the entirety of next season. This should be the case, as rushing Sandstrom into the NHL would not be smart.

It is not out of the realm of possibility that Felix Sandstrom is given the opportunity to earn the backup role as early as 2020-21. Again, it all depends on the progress he makes in Lehigh Valley. Fletcher is not going to rush any other goalie prospects through the system. It’s just not necessary.

Though Sandstrom’s ceiling in Philadelphia will end with a backup role, it is very possible that he becomes a legitimate starter-caliber goalie. Of course, serving as a starter will take place for another organization.

Mandatory Credit: Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press via AP

One thought on “Felix Sandstrom: Flyers Future Backup

  1. John, how can you predict the future for Felix Sandstrom? You have already stated he will be somewhere else if he ever is to become a starter, but how do you know what happens in the future? What if Carter Hart is injured as we saw this season? Sandstrom could work his way into a situation where he shares the goal crease equally with Carter Hart. What if Carter Hart loses his touch for a period of time and Sandstrom goes in and does well, earning the starting spot. Many teams have to very good goaltenders and they split stretches if they get hot. Both Hart and Sandstrom are young. Both could impress. The nice thing is that the Flyers will not lose either Hart or Sandstrom to Seattle in two years since the Flyers can protect Hart and Sandstrom will not have the required two full years as a pro to be exposed.

    I’ve watched Sandstrom closely since the Flyers drafted him. He was voted best goalie in the World Juniors two years ago and has looked very good in the Men’s Swedish League, especially last year when he, along with Oskar Lindblom did well in the playoffs. Sandstrom will be at the Flyers development camp. Last year, he looked outstanding at the camp and I, along with all those who attend will be interested in his play. Sandstrom has huge potential.

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