Flyers recall Ersson and Bellows from the Phantoms

Flyers' Samuel Ersson
TARRYTOWN, NY – SEPTEMBER 18: Philadelphia Flyers Goaltender Samuel Ersson (33) makes a stick save during the New York Rangers Development Camp Rookie Game between the New York Rangers and the Philadelphia Flyers on September 18, 2021 at the MSG Training Facility in Tarrytown, NY (Photo by Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire)

Kieffer Bellows and Samuel Ersson are recalled to the Philadelphia Flyers from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms as Zack MacEwen heads to injured reserve.

During a physical contest against the Minnesota Wild, MacEwen and Marcus Foligno went toe-to-toe, where Foligno got the better of the exchange. A casualty of war, MacEwen suffered a broken jaw, sidelined for five weeks.

Ersson is undefeated in the NHL, owning a 5-0-0 record. He recorded his first NHL shutout before he did it in the AHL. Chuck Fletcher couldn’t have lucked out any better with the current goaltending situation in Philadelphia.

Ahead of the NHL Trade Deadline, the Flyers are seven points out of a wildcard spot in the 2023 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. John Tortorella shuffled his lineup over the recent four-game homestand, resulting in a 1-2-1 record. Why are Bellows and Ersson back in the lineup? What does the recall mean about the late-season approach?

Kieffer Bellows

His latest stint began against the Winnipeg Jets. Bellows scored his first of the season in the shutout victory. He played two versus the New York Islanders and Edmonton Oilers, not victorious against his former club.

Last night, Olle Lycksell received an opportunity versus the Seattle Kraken. He had a rough few shifts, but it isn’t enough to shake him out of the lineup.

Bellows stands in as a healthy scratch upon his recall but could swap out with Lycksell.

Lycksell and Bellows occupying the lineup give Tortorella the flexibility to have a more experienced checking forward in his lineup. It is one of the points of emphasis Tortorella made about the back third of the regular season. Teams who check more effectively will be harder to play. Lycksell has the chance to develop his game in extra minutes, but Bellows is more familiar with Tortorella.

“We’re going to find out about some people when we start playing these games here, in the checking part of it, because teams are going to ramp that up. It’s going to be really interesting to see how guys react.”

John Tortorella; 2/6/2023

Samuel Ersson

He had significant success against west coast NHL teams and the Buffalo Sabres. His undefeated record captivated Philadelphia. Then, after Sandstrom completed his conditioning stint, Ersson continued minutes in the AHL with Lehigh Valley.

“He’s just not afraid. He just plays. This was probably the calmest he’s looked in net in his starts.”

John Tortorella; 1/2/2023

Ersson was waiver exempt. Sandstrom would’ve had to clear waivers, which made him the more appropriate contract to keep on the Flyers.

Both goaltenders will be on the NHL roster. Ersson, for the time being, is a healthy scratch.

Fletcher and Tortorella are ramping up to make a run at a potential wildcard berth. Ersson gives a better chance when Carter Hart isn’t between the pipes. This lineup maneuver indicates a future between Hart and Ersson. Sandstrom is fighting for his NHL future.

Goaltenders are scarce in the NHL. They don’t grow on trees, and a backup goaltender can become a trade asset ahead of the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline. Sandstrom doesn’t have a ton of leverage in terms of his metrics, but another franchise might take a gamble on him. He could be scratched with the intent to trade. If not, he could be waived after the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline back to the Phantoms.

(Photo by Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire)