Now that his two-week maximum is over, Felix Sandstrom’s conditioning loan has come to an end. The Philadelphia Flyers goaltender has been recalled, with Samuel Ersson reassigned back to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in his place.
It’s kind of an odd situation, given how well Ersson has played. The 23-year-old netminder has a .918 save percentage in seven appearances and is 5-0 on the year. But the Flyers, despite their recent play, are still seventh in the Metropolitan Division. The front office knows that securing a higher draft position is important, if they aren’t going to compete for the playoffs.
So up comes Sandstrom, and down goes Ersson. The former has posted an .888 in nine appearances, losing all but one of them this year. There’s little doubt that right now, Ersson is playing better. There’s also a decent chance that Sandstrom would clear waivers if assigned, given his performance so far this year. But it isn’t worth the risk at this point, given where the Flyers sit.
Instead, they’ll go back to Carter Hart handling the lion’s share of the work. His play, like the rest of Philadelphia, has been inconsistent this year. One night he will be dragging the team to a victory, while the next he’s getting pulled early on. A .907 save percentage has resulted in 20 losses across his 33 appearances so far.
Ersson, who missed almost all of 2021-22 with injury, needs to play as much as possible. The fifth-round pick appeared in just five games last season but has shown enough this year for the Flyers to really value his future. He’ll get a lot more playing time in Lehigh Valley than he would as Hart’s backup down the stretch.