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Sent Down for Postseason Push, Tyson Foerster Gave Flyers Fans Glimpse of What’s To Come

(Heather Barry Images, LLC)

The 2020 NHL Entry Draft was a little different than most due to the expanded playoffs and the implications that surrounded COVID.

Mystery Team #5, or “Team E”, ended up winning the draft lottery with a 2.5% chance, while also having some postseason experience. That team turned out to be the New York Rangers, and they selected what many deemed another generational talent in Alexis Lafreniere.

The Philadelphia Flyers on the other hand not only qualified for the playoffs, but because they were one of the best teams leading up to the postponement, they were placed in a round robin group stage to determine seedings 1-4.

The Flyers ended up sweeping through the Round Robin, defeating the Washington Capitals, Boston Bruins, and Tampa Bay Lightning to set up a first round matchup with the Montreal Canadiens. It was a lot more difficult than maybe deemed it would be, but they won in 6 games as they advanced past the first round for the first time since 2011-12. They lost in 7 games in the next round to the New York Islanders, but it was the first time in years that the Flyers had some glimmer of hope for the future.

They were slotted in for the 23rd selection of the first round and with that pick, then-general manager Chuck Fletcher selected Tyson Foerster out of the Barrie Colts of the OHL.

Not too much was known about him at the time but he was deemed to have one of the best shots in the draft – if not the best – and all he really had to work on was his skating. He scored 36 goals and 80 points in only 62 games during his draft year, which was a vast improvement from his previous season with the Colts, where he scored 10 goals and 23 points in 64 games. Due to the CHL being cancelled because of COVID, Foerster was granted the opportunity to play in the AHL – a league where skaters from North American leagues can’t participate in until they’re 20.

He suffered a tibia injury that cut his season short but in his first taste of professional hockey, he scored 10 goals and 17 points in only 24 games. His 2021-22 season was also cut short due to injury as he only appeared in 9 AHL games and 13 OHL games, but scored 5 goals and 11 points in the latter. He was able to participate in the summer rendition of the 2022 World Juniors – something he wouldn’t have had an opportunity to partake in had the original tournament been cancelled, due to injury. He scored 3 goals and 6 points in 7 games en route to a gold medal.

Finally fully healthy, Foerster started the 2022-23 season with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and starred before his eventual call-up to the Flyers. Through 58 games with the Phantoms, Foerster is 2nd in goals with 19, 4th in assists with 20, and tied for 1st in points with Elliot Desnoyers at 39.

Before his first call-up to the big leagues ahead of their game against Carolina on the 9th of March, Foerster had 5 points in his last 6 games with the Phantoms. He made a quick pit stop back with the Phantoms for a game against Utica, where he scored a goal, but then was brought back on an emergency basis.

He went pointless in his first 3 games against Carolina, Pittsburgh, and Vegas but had 5 shots on goal, averaged 16:01 of ice time per game, and had 7 hits and 4 blocked shots. Since then, he rode a 5 game point-streak where he scored 3 goals and added 4 helpers, was a +5, fired 10 shots on goal, and recorded 5 hits and 5 blocked shots. His ice-time rose from 13:30 against Buffalo to 17:24 against Carolina to 18:03 against Florida to 18:56 against Minnesota that included a goal with his patented snap-shot. He added an empty net goal against the Detroit Red Wings in 16:37, but it was always in the cards for him to be sent back down before Sunday with Egor Zamula.

The AHL is formatted a little differently than the NHL. First and foremost, the divisions aren’t equal. The Atlantic Division has 8 teams, the North and Central Divisions have 7 teams, and the Pacific Division has 10. The top-6 in the Atlantic advance to the postseason, the top-5 in the North and Central, and the top-7 in the Pacific. The first round is a best-of-three series, the second and third rounds are best-of-five, and the finals are a best-of-seven.

The Phantoms are currently 5th in the Atlantic Division with 70 points, ahead of the 6th-place Bridgeport Islanders by 2 points, and they’re also 5 points up on the 7th-place Hartford Wolf Pack, and 9 points up on last-place Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. They are within striking distance of the 4th-place Springfield Thunderbirds, who have 73 points, but the Charlotte Checkers (76), Hershey Bears (84), and Providence Bruins (88) are far and ahead at the top. Either which way, it looks like the playoffs are in the cards.

Foerster’s return to the Phantoms should be a big boost with only 9 games left on the docket in their 72-game regular season. Alongside Bobby Brink, Elliot Desnoyers, Olle Lycksell, Ronnie Attard, Egor Zamula, and Samuel Ersson, the future of the Flyers is in good hands and the Phantoms should have feature in some exciting games with the Flyers well and out of playoff contention.

As for his prospects in the NHL, Foerster should have a place locked in the lineup next season with how he performed in his short stint with the club. It also helps that head coach John Tortorella was so impressed with the youngster that he couldn’t help himself in terms of his enthusiasm and excitement when talking about Foerster in any regard.

We witnessed his hard shot, his aggressive forechecking, his defensive abilities when tasked, he can lay down the body and block shots with his 6’2”, 190-pound frame, and was a shot of energy to the lineup during their 7-game homestand.

He played very well with Morgan Frost and Brendan Lemieux and should have swagger and confidence coming out of every pore as he returns to the Phantoms a different man.

Flyers fan born in the heart of Leafs nation

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