How Should Flyers Handle Their Goalie Situation?

Danielle Marie
April 24, 2023  (3:25 PM)

When Chuck Fletcher was relieved of his duties and Danny Briere was named the (interim) General Manager of the Flyers, the organization officially acknowledged it was time for a rebuild, both by making the move and with the fact Briere officially admitted it out loud in his "introduction" press conference. With the rebuild comes players willing to stay and try to see it all the way through, and players who are afraid they'll miss their window to win a cup if they stick around too long.

According to reports, Flyers current starting goalie, Carter Hart, appears to be in the latter. The 24-year-old is coming of a season in which he earned the team MVP award, and posted his best GAA and Save Percentage(2.93 GAA, .907Sv%) since his sophomore season in 2019/2020(2.42 GAA, .914Sv%). Granted, 2019/20 was also the shortened season thanks to a certain virus that effected the entire world and caused shutdowns world wide that nobody had seen in 100 years. That said, it doesn't change the numbers for either season. They are what they are in the history books.
In any event, with Hart seemingly not wanting to see the rebuild through until the end, the Flyers have a huge question to answer. The young goalie is under contract through the 2023/24 season, and still remains an RFA for the two following seasons. Should they explore the trade market for Hart and potentially make Ersson their starting goalie for 2023/24 or should they hold onto Hart through at least the coming season, give Ersson another year of either full time AHL-starter or bring him up to get his feet went behind Hart as the NHL backup?
Felix Sandström will also still an option, provided the Flyers don't find someway to ship him out, but his 2022/23 season was not at all pretty. Of course, some of that was the team in front of him, but at one point in the season, even head coach John Tortorella - who openly admits he knows nothing about goaltending and won't pretend to - admitted that Sandström needs to make more saves. To the goalie's credit, he did manage to somewhat straighten himself out in the latter part of the season, ultimately ending the season with 20GP, 18GS, 3W, 12L, 3OTL, 3.72GGA, .880Sv%.
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In his season ending press conference, when asked if Ersson would have a shot to make the Flyers roster next season, (interim) GM Briere said he definitely would. However, that statement was made prior to the end of the Phantoms season.
It's worth noting that in his exit interview, Hart was asked who he preferred his backup be NEXT season, Sandström or Ersson, and he answered by saying either was perfectly fine because he got along with both and they both "made the competition healthy", referring to the fact the starting goalie has to essentially stay on his game if he wants to remain the starting goalie. So the answer makes it sound like Hart expects to be here, at least through next season; however, he is under contract, so he will be here if the Flyers don't A.) attempt to trade him and/or B.) find a partner to trade with that's willing to give up what the Flyers expect in return for their current MVP.
But with all that said, the true question may just be, after his late-season miniature slide with the Phantoms will the Flyers find it more beneficial for Ersson to be in the AHL as the Phantoms starter again next season, or will they want him getting valuable time competing with Hart for playing time at the NHL level?
Which leads to if B is ultimately the option they choose, what will it mean for Sandström? Will they be able to find a trade partner to take him? Can they get back anything valuable back if they do try to trade him? Would the return be worth it?
Just when you think the Flyers are "set" in goal for awhile, a full-rebuild begins and it appears they may just be right back where they started from. Only time will tell.
24 AVRIL   |   189 ANSWERS
How Should Flyers Handle Their Goalie Situation?

Should they attempt to trade Hart this off season, or wait until at least next off season before making a move in the crease?

Trade him now4121.7 %
Hold onto him13571.4 %
Does it really matter?136.9 %
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