As we inched closer to All-Star Weekend earlier in the week, NHL.com decided to name an All-Rookie All-Star team that would help headline the event, and unsurprisingly Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Samuel Ersson made the cut. The young Swede has struggled as of late but his overall play this season is being recognized with a pretty important accolade.
The 24-year-old has been a standout amongst his rookie peers at his respective position this season he has leads with 12 wins and 3 shutouts and is 2nd with a 2.60 GAA. He edged out Pyotr Kochetkov of the Carolina Hurricanes, Joel Hofer of the St. Louis Blues, and Devon Levi of the Buffalo Sabres.
After struggling out of the gates with a 1-3-1 record, a .830 SV%, and 17 goals allowed – including 12 in his first 2 games – Ersson really turned the corner for about 2 months. He posted an 11-2-2 record, a marvelous .931 SV%, and allowed just 28 goals in 15 games to go along with his 3 shutouts and 4 shootout victories. He defeated the likes of the New Jersey Devils, Vancouver Canucks, Winnipeg Jets, and Dallas Stars.
Even with his early season struggles, he posted a 12-5-3 record, a .911 SV%, and a GAA of 2.25 through 20 games. Unfortunately, his numbers took a bit of nose dive over the final week heading into the All-Star break, where he allowed 16 goals in 4+ games, posted an .826 SV%, and dropped 4 consecutive contests. Nevertheless, he’s enjoyed a very successful rookie season and should be proud of the honour.
He is joined alongside Chicago Blackhawks forward Connor Bedard, the Minnesota Wild’s duo of Brock Faber and Marco Rossi, Columbus Blue Jackets forward Adam Fantilli, and New Jersey Devils defenseman Luke Hughes.
With the news relating to Carter Hart, Ersson will be thrust into an unenviable position of having to lead the Flyers out of their current rut and to maintain their playoff position with 32 games remaining on the season. Head coach and general manager believe in his skillset, mental fortitude, and capabilities but they also don’t necessarily have a plan-B with Cal Petersen not necessarily being a sought after option in between the pipes.
It’s a tough position for Ersson to be in as he has just 37 games of NHL experience under his belt, but he has shown flashes of brilliance even dating back to his first stint last season. This year he was spectacular between mid-November and mid-January and with the bye week coinciding with the All-Star break, look for a mentally refreshed Ersson to patrol the blue paint in their return to play on Tuesday against the Florida Panthers – and beyond.
2024 Stadium Series Trip
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