The transition to North America hasn’t been easy for Samuel Ersson.
Drafted 143rd overall by the Philadelphia Flyers during the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, Ersson experienced an injury-riddled 2021-2022 season with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Ersson, 22, dealt with groin issues, which ultimately resulted in undergoing surgery.
It was clear in five games with the Phantoms last season (0-3-1, 2.96GAA, 89.3%SV) that injuries were getting the best of the young Swedish goaltender.
Ersson was the starting goaltender for the Flyers during Game 2 of a weekend series against the New York Rangers’ rookies. Philadelphia’s rookies swept the Rangers during the Rookie Series, and Ersson was the main standout during Saturday’s tilt.
Ersson made thirteen saves on thirteen shots during the first period. The Flyers were off to a slow start, but Ersson was holding his ground.
The Rangers didn’t have an answer for Ersson until the third period. Ersson made 20+ consecutive saves until conceding to Bobby Trivigno, but it was obvious that he’s regained confidence in his abilities and is healthy again. Philadelphia answered a slow start with a 5-1 victory.
“My main focus was ‘get through the game,’ really. I’ve been thinking all summer I want to come back with a statement to show that I’m able to handle adversity and come back strong.”Samuel Ersson; 9/17/2022
A statement was most certainly made by Ersson during the weekend.
2G role remains open
Heading into training camp, Philadelphia still has a question mark hanging over the backup goaltender position. Currently, Felix Sandstrom makes the most sense.
Sandstrom, 25, played in five games (0-4-1, 3.23GAA, 91%SV) with Philadelphia last season. His NHL experience, while minimal, will give him upside over Ersson during camp.
Ivan Fedotov appeared to be the clear favorite for the backup role after signing his entry-level contract in May, but his situation in Russia caused plans to change.
His impressive performance will send him into training camp with confidence. He appeared to be a long shot for the backup role before yesterday, but the poise he showed has certainly put him in contention to have Carter Hart’s back in 2022-2023.
Whether it’s Sandstrom or Ersson who finds themselves as the newest backup, it’s safe to say that Philadelphia has depth and talent at goaltending.
(Photo by Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire)