A long-term replacement for Brian Elliott, some production on the wing, and two pairs of teammates? There are plenty of reasons to stay locked in to the SHL this season. Here’s everything you need to know about the Flyers prospects competing so far.
After four years of SHL experience, Linus Sandin was signed by the Philadelphia Flyers. With a professional background behind him, the 24-year-old RW who thrives handling the puck and letting it rip returned to HV71 on loan after amassing 36 points (19G, 17A) in 51 games.
He has 6 points in 10 games so far for HV71 and most recently played in 15:40 of ice time in the team’s 3-0 win over Leksands IF, registering a shot.
Sandin started off the month of October with a pair of assists in a 5-4 loss to Luleå HF and carried that form on deep into the month, registering 2 goals and 2 assists across his next 4 games.
Sandin will be trying to pick up as much momentum as possible before trying to make the jump to the NHL. He’ll likely be locked in a battle with Tanner Laczynski and Wade Allison come preseason.
Theoretically, he would have an advantage over the others due to playing in a professional league, but anything can happen and he’ll need every last second of Ice Time this Winter to make sure he’s primed to make the leap.
So far, so good. If he can maintain his offensive output and potentially improve his passing accuracy, it would more than make up for shortcomings on the defensive end and give the Flyers a playmaking winger to use on the bottom line as the year wears on and rotation is needed.
A 2017 sixth-round pick of the Flyers, Lycksell is among the youngest Flyers prospects competing in Sweden, currently holding his own with Färjestad BK. Last year, he amassed 21 points in 51 games for Linköping HC, but a change of scenery seems to have served him well. Lycksell has 4 points through 11 games, near enough matching his production from last year, notching two goals and two assists.
His ice time has been sporadic at best this year, with Lycksell playing under 10 minutes in 2 of his last 4 games. His last goal came 5 days ago in a 7-2 romp over Örebro HK. He ranks 7th in tea +/- with a +1 rating and brings a well-rounded skillset to the table.
If the young forward can work on his positioning when off the puck in order to create more opportunities for his team, he could have a really high ceiling. Lycksell is a strong skater who is quick to chase a puck into the offensive zone and has a real knack for finding the back of the net, registering a goal in 3/5 games he’s taken at least 1 shot. Shooting at a higher frequency will obviously improve this as he isn’t a primary scoring option on the team, but has the potential to grow into one if he can remain clinical.
The Flyers’ second-round pick is currently playing alongside Linus Sandin which is worth noting.
At 5’9, 183 lbs, Andrae isn’t the mauling defenseman one would typically associate with the Flyers, but it would be foolish to disregard his talents due to his size. While he may be smaller than many, he thrived last year with the big boys.
The pride of HV71 amassed 38 points in 40 games last season, with 27 of them being assists. Andrae’s game is one of physicality on defense and awareness when in the offensive zone.
His start to the 2020 season has been a little quieter, registering 2 points in 11 games and picking up a -4 rating. Ice time will be something to watch moving forward. It’s fluctuated heavily over the last few weeks, but he’s averaging around 10 minutes of play per night.
Yet to find the back of the net this season, Andae’s last point was an assist in a 5-2 win over Malmo where he showed some nice puck movement in the second period to give his team the lead.
Andrae’s progress will definitely be fun to watch this year, especially if his vision continues to improve on the offensive end.
20-year-old Adam Ginning is a left-handed defenseman who was notably a second-round pick by the Flyers back in 2018.
With a +6 rating last year in the SHL, he notched 3 points in 27 games, and is on pace to reach similar margins this year for Färjestad BK, where he’s teammates with Lycksell. Ginning has 1 assist in 10 games, his only point so far.
At 6’4, 205 lbs, Ginning is a much more physical defenseman than Andrae and makes his impact along the boards and when engaged in one-on-one matchups. Points aren’t what matters here, but the fact he’s seeing single digit TOI most nights is a little worrying, although he has a lot of growing room due to being so young.
It’ll be worth keeping an eye on Ginning to see if he adds any wrinkles to his game, but he’s a strong and fast defender who has a want to get in front of the puck and and make his presence felt.
A fifth-round pick back in 2018, Ersson is gunning to be the long-term replacement behind Brian Elliott. Playing for Brynas IF last year, Ersson amassed a .895 save percentage, allowing 2.9 goals per game and totalling a record of 14-20.
This year, his save percentage is up to .903, although his goals allowed average is now 3.1 throw 7 games, of which he’s won 4.
Through the start of October, he’d started 4 games, winning 3 (including a shootout), amassing a .947 save percentage and facing at least 27 shots in each game.
Ersson shows a confident glove hand and strong distribution skills. He can sometimes struggle with shots driven into the low corners, but for the most part anything above the waist is safely into his hand or off the stick. His positioning remains a huge strength and had it not been for a tough 6-4 loss to HV71 of all teams, his record would be much stronger.
It’s looking to be a season of promise for the young goaltender, who is certainly a name to keep an eye on.
Photo Credit: Alex Mcintyre