Who would have thought that the goaltending position would be a strength throughout the Flyers organization in the year 2019? That is exactly what has transpired. Thanks to brilliant drafting by former General Manager Ron Hextall, and Chuck Fletcher’s late-round steal of Roddy Ross this past draft. The goaltending problems that have haunted this proud organization for many years may just be a thing of the past. Look at the crazy good young goaltenders that the Flyers have behind Carter Hart. There is Felix Sandstrom, Kirill Usitmenko, Roddy Ross, and this Swedish stud, Samuel Ersson.
Ersson was masterful in his final season for Vasteras IK in the Allsvenskan League, in Sweden. For the 2018-19 season, he registered a 1.93 GAA, and a .933 Save Percentage in 36 games. In addition, Ersson received awards for Rookie of the Year, Goaltender of the Year, and Most Valuable Player of the Year. Talk about one heck of a prospect. He will play for Brynas in the SHL, one of the toughest leagues in world for the 2019-20 season, “I look forward to the challenge in the SHL, and Brynas,” Ersson said at Flyers Developmental Camp, “It’s a tough league for sure, but it will show you what you are made of.”
The former Vasteras IK product appears to be confident, and one could see the determination on his face in the locker room following the first practice at developmental camp, “I’m trying to learn as much as possible at this camp, but I feel good right now. Last season was good, but I have to just remain focused at the task at hand.”
Ersson continues, “ I like to have fun though. I love Swedish Rap- Yung Lean, Mwuana (Laughing)…love it.” For a second there, Ersson was reciting some songs, but I was laughing and just having a good time, that I could not make out the words he was saying.
Unknown to most Flyers fans, Ersson is funny and very talkative. He keeps people on edge for sure, but Ersson works his magic on the ice too. Ersson understands his role within the Flyers organization, and there is no reason to rush his development, “I’m trying to improve, but I like to have fun with the game I love too. It’s a tough sport that requires some balance. I want to just continue to train, and do my best.”
Samuel Ersson wanted to show the world what he was made of for Team Sweden U20 at the WJC this past May. Well, he did just that. Ersson was nothing short of phenomenal. For the tournament, he registered a 2.23 GAA, and owned a .922 Save Percentage in four games, after beating out Olle Eriksson EK for the starting gig.“It was awesome playing for Team Sweden,” Ersson exclaimed, “It’s an honor to represent Sweden and the people, it was a great tournament.”
The young netminder was a standout at Flyers Developmental Camp. His lateral movements from post to post were smooth. Additionally, Ersson is just confident with handling the puck. Time after time, Ersson would drop the puck behind the net to a defenseman, rather than over stick handle. His skill set appears to be far ahead than most young netminders his age, and Ersson is only 19 years-old.
Samuel Ersson hopes to build off last season and put forth a good 2019-20 season for Brynas. Fortunately, the Flyers can allow him time to learn the game the right way and remain patient with him. Hopefully, Ersson adapts to the SHL well, and Flyers fans can see him full-time in North America sooner rather than later.
Mandatory Photo Credit: Simon Hastegård, Bildbyrån
Jamey Baskow, 34, Flyers Guru, Sports Enthuiast
Follow me on Twitter@JameyBaskow