It’s been a long time since the Flyers could claim to have some of the best goaltending depth in the league, but amazingly that statement may become true in the next few years. 20-year old Carter Hart has already staked his claim to the starting role in the NHL, while 22-year old Felix Sandstrom posted another great season in the SHL. Ustimenko, another 20-year old this time from Russia, has been one of the MHL’s best goaltenders for several years.
Originally selected in the third round in 2017, Ustimenko has posted three consecutive dominant years with the MHL Dynamo St. Petersburg team in Russia. With save percentages of .938, .929 and .927, he has developed into a legitimate goaltending prospect that is ready to make the leap to North America. While he may not be ready to compete at the NHL level just yet, there’s good reason to believe he and Sandstrom could form an excellent duo in the AHL.
The question will be where they each land however, as the Flyers still have Alex Lyon under contract for another season. Perhaps he’ll move up to the NHL with Brian Elliott and Cam Talbot both on expiring deals, but the team may want to bring in a veteran option to help out Hart and take some of the pressure off the young goaltender. In that case, there may simply be too many talented goaltenders to go around for the Flyers in the minor leagues, something they haven’t been able to say for quite some time.