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How does the Flyers’ goaltending situation shape up with Ivan Fedotov and Alexei Kolosov in the mix?

(Heather Barry Images, LLC)

The Philadelphia Flyers have received some major reinforcements in net in the last week from the KHL, and it will shape the future goaltending landscape of the franchise if it hasn’t already.

After having his contract terminated by KHL club CSKA Moscow, Ivan Fedotov ultimately joined the Flyers after his well-publicized saga over the last two years that saw him arrested for allegedly evading military conscription, which was followed by him serving out his time in Severomorsk before signing a contract with CSKA while still under contract to Philadelphia last summer, before his NHL deal was tolled after an IIHF ruling. Yeah, there’s a lot to unpack there.

Fedotov was finally introduced as a Flyer at a press conference last Friday before practicing for the first time with the team and was immediately implanted as the backup goaltender to Samuel Ersson.

Fedotov then made his long-awaited NHL debut in Monday’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Islanders. He led the Flyers out of the tunnel for the second period after Ersson was pulled, and the 6’7” Russian stopped 19 of 21 shots in an impressive debut.

Alexei Kolosov has now also come over to North America, getting into Voorhees, New Jersey late last Saturday. Kolosov has been assigned to AHL Lehigh Valley and will split the net with Felix Sandström and Cal Petersen, as minor-leaguer Parker Gahagen was loaned to ECHL Reading to make room for him.

Kolosov left Dinamo Minsk with a 21-22-3 record, .907 SV%, 2.39 GAA, and 4 shutouts this past regular season. He also went 2-4 with a .925 SV% and 2.21 GAA in the 2024 Gagarin Cup Playoffs.

Having these two jump from the KHL to North America is huge for the Flyers in multiple aspects. Fedotov gives the Flyers – for at least what it looks like at the moment – a stable backup goaltender, which is paramount to keep Ersson rested and in proper shape. Kolosov gives the organization a real prospect to develop down in the AHL for now, as fellow prospects Carson Bjarnason and Egor Zavragin are still a few years away from reaching the pro ranks of North America.

Looking at the Flyers’ goaltending depth chart, at the moment, it will read in some order of Ersson, Fedotov, Kolosov, Sandström, Petersen, Bjarnason, and Zavragin, and we’ll inspect their seasons so far and what may lie ahead for each goalie.


(Heather Barry Images, LLC)

For at least the rest of this season, Ersson has been penned in as Philadelphia’s number one goaltender. General manager Daniel Brière said as much at Fedotov’s introductory presser last Friday, stating, “We told Sam, ‘You’ve earned the rights to be the number one, we believe in you, we trust in you,’ but we’ve been up front with both of them (Ersson and Sandström).”

Ersson was given an early two-year contract extension by Brière and the Flyers in August. They clearly showed trust in his play after an impressive stint with the club last season, but the team was also likely preparing for the worst in regard to Carter Hart and his alleged role in the 2018 Team Canada sexual assault scandal. The Flyers drafting two goaltenders in June was already a possible sign of preparing for a future without Hart, and Ersson’s signing spilled even more fuel on that fire.

The Flyers are clearly trusting and faithful in Ersson, though. He has helped guide them to playoff contention in a situation that is less than enviable as a rookie, and the young Swede has given the team a chance to win almost every game.

The last few weeks, however, he has looked gassed, which is understandable. Ersson has appeared in 27 of the Flyers’ last 33 games and started 26 of them. However, he’s young, he’s carried the Flyers this far already, and he will be here long-term. Ersson, for all intents and purposes, is the face of the franchise in goal for now.


(Heather Barry Images, LLC)

Fedotov was immediately stapled as the backup in Philadelphia upon arrival and shined in his NHL debut.

The hulking Russian expressed excitement on joining the organization last Friday.

“I’ve been (drafted) here like a long time ago, around eight years, so after that it’s been a long time. So now I’m here and for sure, I’m so excited and happy to be here.

“It’s a great feeling because (of the) really difficult two years last for me, but now I’m here and happy to be here and I want to help the team.”

Fedotov has already shown he can help the team in plenty of ways, but there is definitely a learning curve for him to experience as well. That much was evident in his first NHL start against Buffalo, stopping just 15 of 19 shots in the Flyers’ 4-2 loss on Friday.

Fedotov’s entry-level contract will expire at the end of the season but both player and team feel confident in him being with the Flyers long-term.

“As far as a contract extension, it’s something that we’re working on,” said Brière. “I don’t expect it to be an issue, but nothing has been done as of yet.”

A tandem of Ersson and Fedotov is something Flyers fans should expect to see for the next few years.


(Heather Barry Images, LLC)

Sandström had been serving as the backup in Philadelphia before Fedotov came over and was assigned to the Phantoms after appearing in four games during his most recent recall. The Gävle, Sweden native went 0-2-0 while also relieving Ersson twice, posting a .786 SV% and 4.43 GAA in those four games.

Sandström is an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season, and with Fedotov and Kolosov now in North America, he will most likely not be re-signed by Philadelphia. The Flyers don’t need him to back up Ersson anymore, and they will want Kolosov to earn ample playing time in Lehigh Valley. It will be tough to get rid of Petersen given his contract as well, making Sandström the probable odd man out of the organization this summer.

The only real shot that Sandström has to stay in the organization is if the Flyers buy out Petersen’s contract. Being buried in the minors right now, Petersen’s cap hit is only at $3,580,000 out of his $5,000,000 salary anyway but if he were bought out, the term of the contract would linger for an extra season. $1,000,000 would count against the books for 2024-25 and $2,000,000 for 2025-26. Unless the Flyers feel that they will be really strapped for cash even with the salary cap rising, I wouldn’t count on a buyout happening.

The 27-year-old Sandström was drafted in the third round in 2015 by the Flyers and has appeared in 30 games for them, and he has probably played his last one for them. His NHL career has been marred by inconsistency, and at least last season by poor support in front of him as well. Sandström is a solid minor-leaguer that can back up in an emergency, but he unfortunately has yet to sustain any success in the NHL after showing early promise in 2021-22.


(Heather Barry Images, LLC)

Petersen has performed about as expected this season and has no real future in the Flyers organization.

Acquired as a cap dump from the Los Angeles Kings in the Ivan Provorov three-team trade, Petersen has spent most of his time in the AHL with Lehigh Valley. The former 2013 fifth-round pick of the Sabres is 9-13-3 with an .898 SV%, 2.98 GAA, and 1 shutout with the Phantoms. In Philadelphia, he is 2-2-0 with an .864 SV% and 3.90 GAA in five appearances.

As mentioned before, Petersen is under contract until the end of the 2024-25 campaign. The Waterloo, Iowa native will likely stick around next season as a depth goalie with the Phantoms unless the Flyers really feel they have to buy his contract out. With Felix Sandström probably on his way out to another organization or perhaps back home to Sweden, Petersen should play out his contract with the Flyers organization before reaching free agency.


(Maksim Konstantinov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The top goaltending prospect in the organization, Kolosov will now help the Phantoms in their playoff push to begin his North American pro career.

As mentioned earlier, the Minsk, Belarus native went 21-22-3 with a .907 SV%, 2.39 GAA, and 4 shutouts with his home club while also posting a 2-4 record, .925 SV%, and 2.21 GAA in the 2024 Gagarin Cup Playoffs.

Overall, Kolosov went 49-56-10 with a .909 SV%, 2.63 GAA, and 6 shutouts across his KHL career, with all appearances coming with Dinamo Minsk. His career postseason numbers left a little more to be desired (3-8, .907 SV%, 3.10 GAA, 0 SO), but hopefully some playoff experience with the Phantoms will do him some good should the opportunity arise.

Kolosov is playing on an entry-level deal that expires after 2025-26. By that time, he will likely be the starter in Lehigh Valley and perhaps have earned some reps with Philadelphia. His contract will run out at the same point as Samuel Ersson’s and both will be restricted free agents, and it will be an interesting situation to monitor.

For now, though, Kolosov represents an opportunity for the Flyers to have another impressive homegrown goalie come through the ranks of North America from overseas, much like Ersson.


(Jonathan Kozub/Getty Images)

Bjarnason was the first goaltender selected by the Flyers in the 2023 NHL Draft and was the first goalie the Flyers drafted at any point since Kolosov in 2021.

Philadelphia traded up to the 19th pick in the second round (51st overall) to draft him, so they clearly saw something in Bjarnason and wanted him badly in the pipeline.

The Carberry, Manitoba native just recently wrapped up his third season with the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings, going 24-17-5 with a .907 SV%, 3.01 GAA, and 2 shutouts. The Wheat Kings were swept in their opening round matchup in the WHL Playoffs against the Moose Jaw Warriors, in which Bjarnason recorded a mere .831 SV% and 7.15 GAA.

In all fairness to Bjarnason, the Wheat Kings were fairly outmatched, and they were only the sixth-best team in a loaded Eastern Conference and tenth overall across the league.

He still has plenty of time to grow as he’s just 18 years old. Bjarnason signed his entry-level contract with the Flyers back on September 26th after impressing the team in Rookie Camp and Development Camp. In his first game action as a Flyer, Bjarnason stopped 19 of 22 shots in the team’s second Rookie Series game against the New York Rangers on September 16th and was arguably their best player in that contest.

While Bjarnason will be old enough to play in the AHL next year, expect him to head back to Brandon for a fourth season while Kolosov and one of Petersen or Sandström man the crease in Lehigh Valley. Come 2025 training camp, Bjarnason should hopefully be ready to be a full-time professional goaltender.


(Mamonty Yugry/MHL)

Zavragin is a very intriguing yet little-known prospect to the average fan, but his upside seems incredible.

During the 2024 campaign, Zavragin has split time between Mamonty Yugry of the MHL and Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk of the VHL. Between the two clubs, he racked up a combined 19-2-2 record, .944 SV%, 1.61 GAA, and 5 shutouts in 26 regular season games.

The 2023 third-round draft pick has done most of his damage in the VHL, Russia’s second-tier men’s league behind the KHL. With Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk alone, Zavragin went 13-1-0 with a .944 SV%, 1.60 GAA, and 3 shutouts in 17 games, which is just simply insane for an 18-year-old.

Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk is currently battling in the second round of the VHL postseaon against AKM Tula Region, trailing in the series 2-0. Across the Petrov Cup Playoffs, Zavragin is 3-3 with a .927 SV% and 1.98 GAA.

It remains to be seen how long Zavragin will remain overseas. He will likely spend more time in the VHL as well as playing in the KHL in the future before potentially making the jump to North America, but just looking at his numbers, it’s hard not to hope that his time here comes sooner than later.

Managing Editor at Flyers Nation. Proud lifelong supporter of the Philadelphia Flyers and all things hockey related. Steve Mason's #1 fan.

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