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Flyers Battle of the Backups Wages On

Published October 2, 2023 at 4:02 PM
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All throughout the off-season fans wondered what the Flyers were going to do with their goalies. After the Provorov trade brought Cal Petersen to Philly from LA many thought maybe that meant Hart would be traded. A trade never happened. Whether that be because the Flyers decided against the idea, or whether it's because no other teams could come up with a deal that involved players the Flyers were comfortable parting with the starting goalie for remains a mystery.

After Saturday night, what is no longer a mystery is whether Hart would be able to regain the strong play he had last year, and in his one(and probably one) pre-season game he proved he's still sharp and can keep his team in games. It was only a small sample size, and in the pre-season no less, and competition will be much tougher come the regular season, no doubt, but he seemed to pick up right where he left off last season, most likely leaving the coaching staff comfortable with using the remaining two pre-season games to settle the backup goalie battle.

Tonight, Sam Ersson will get his chance to prove it's his job to lose. He'll play the full game. Possibly coincidentally, it'll also be in the same game where Tortorella is set to step behind the bench to coach for the first time this year. We already know Torts' feelings on Ersson. He seems to be his favorite of all the goalies, perhaps even including Hart. (Although judging by the coach's past comments, if he is ahead, it's not by much.)

Petersen had a tough first game against the Devils and then rebounded nicely against the Bruins, although there are still parts of his game that probably make Torts cringe. Even though the head coach has claimed numerous times he knows nothing about goaltending and leaves everything to do with the position up to his goalie coach, you don't necessarily have to "know" goaltending to realize when a rebound is bad, or a goal is weak. Petersen owns the only Flyers pre-season win which came in a shootout against tonight's opponent, the Bruins. That may or may not give him an "edge" over Sandström.


Speaking on Sandström, he has had a decent camp and even outplayed Petersen in the first game of the pre-season. However, he really hasn't been given a "prove it" chance since splitting the second pre-season game with Ersson; where he also had a good showing.

It's worth noting that while it will ultimately come down to being Danny Briere and Keith Jones' decision to make, if they're listening to Torts, like has been claimed several times over the last several months since the GM and PoHO were given their positions, the backup position may very well be Ersson's to lose. Ersson is the only one of the three backup options that are waivers exempt, and that still may very well play a part in the decision, but if Torts has it his way it'll be Hart/Ersson to start the seasonl
POLL
October 2   |   190 answers
Flyers Battle of the Backups Wages On

Who do you think will win the backup goalie battle? Will Waivers play a part?

Sandström2513.2 %
Petersen1910 %
Ersson11560.5 %
Sandström or Petersen because Waivers3116.3 %
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