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There is no need to panic about Samuel Ersson

(Heather Barry Images, LLC)

Samuel Ersson and the Philadelphia Flyers have allowed a lot of goals lately.

A lot of goals.

A 5-2 loss to Washington on March 1st was followed up by a 7-0 loss to Tampa Bay on March 9th and a 6-2 loss to Toronto on March 14th. This month alone, the Flyers have let up 24 goals in 7 games, bad enough for 3.43 against per game while going just 3-3-1.

Ersson has been in net, or at least started, for the majority of the Flyers’ games this month. Ersson is 2-3-1 with an .879 SV% and 3.49 GAA and has been pulled twice in his last three outings. Felix Sandström has not fared much better in relief, posting a combined .769 SV% and 4.06 GAA against Tampa Bay and Toronto after taking over for Ersson in those contests.

Ersson has started 21 of Philadelphia’s last 27 games since January 10th and 18 of their last 21 games since January 21st. Quite simply, he’s starting to feel the grind of a full NHL season, or rather the grind of being thrust into the starter’s role on a whim after Carter Hart left the team to face sexual assault charges.

Ersson is just 24 years old and is now being relied on to play heavy minutes on a team with a blueline decimated by injuries while they’re in the thick of a playoff race, all while the organization is trying to keep their rebuild on track in the process.

“I think I’ve done that (bounced back) all year and it’s something as a goalie you’re going to have to do,” said Ersson after Thursday’s loss to Toronto. “You’re going to have tough games. I don’t like it. I want to play good every game and especially how important these games are for us, but it’s in the past now. I can’t control it. I can just look forward and go ahead and meet the next challenge.”

Ersson’s recent numbers aren’t anything to write home about, but the situation he’s in isn’t exactly ideal for any goaltender, much less a rookie who wasn’t penciled in as the starter until halfway through the season. His overall statistics are still fine, however. Ersson is 19-14-5 with an .898 SV%, 2.67 GAA, and 3 shutouts. 19 wins ties him for 15th in the league, his GAA is also 15th, and his shutout total is tied for 8th, respectively. His save percentage could use some work, but it’s still higher than the save percentages of players like Dallas’ Jake Oettinger and Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy, two stars regarded as some of the best in the business at stopping pucks.

Among rookies, Ersson has found himself as a dark horse for the Calder Trophy and leads in wins and is tied for the lead in shutouts with Carolina’s Pyotr Kochetkov, who maintains the rookie lead in SV% (.911) and GAA (2.35).

The upcoming schedule won’t calm anyone’s nerves as the Flyers have to take on the Bruins twice, the Maple Leafs, the Hurricanes, the Panthers, and the Rangers in their next six contests – all top ten teams. But again, Ersson is playing behind an injured team and is being asked to do a lot right now by the Flyers. Do not freak out if he struggles down the stretch. Hell, the Flyers aren’t even supposed to be in this position right now. They’re playing with house money after being picked by virtually everyone to be a bottom-feeder in the standings, and Ersson is a big part of why the Flyers are where they are right now.

Ersson has been fine. Sure, there’s the occasional softie he lets in or there’s a bad rebound that he can’t corral. He will clean those mistakes up. He’s young and goalies take time to reach their peak. He will be okay.

So please, do not panic about Samuel Ersson. He has proven that he is a capable starting goaltender in the NHL, and he and the Flyers will be just fine in due time.

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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