Philadelphia Flyers 2023-24 Player Preview: Emil Andrae

Flyers prospect Emil Andrae in the IIHF World Junior Championship (Photo by Andy Devlin/ Getty Images)
Flyers prospect Emil Andrae in the IIHF World Junior Championship (Photo by Andy Devlin/ Getty Images) /

One advantage the Philadelphia Flyers have heading into this season compared to previous seasons, and especially 2022, is the amount of competition they will have for just a few spots on their blueline. With incumbents Cam York and Travis Sanheim locking down the left side on the Flyers’ top two pairs, the third pair is anyone’s game.

On July 3, the Flyers signed veteran Marc Staal, but if one thing is clear, he will not be playing very much unless something goes very wrong. Staal, 36, has played for head coach John Tortorella in the past, meaning his role is cut and dried: establish himself as a leader in the locker room and a teacher on the ice. The veteran will not wow anyone with his play at this point in his career, nor does Staal’s career depend on this one season.

The same cannot be said for Swedish defenseman Emil Andrae, however. The 2020 second-round pick only just signed his entry-level contract on March 27, but at the age of 21, Andrae has just 10 games of experience in North American hockey. What complicates matters even further is the youngster’s diminutive size.

Standing at just 5-foot-9, Andrae was always facing an uphill battle to make the NHL. If he is unable to put that past him in preseason, training camp, or otherwise, Andrae’s long-term ceiling as a pro player is greatly limited. In addition, the Swede does not have the dynamic offensive element to his game that, let’s say a Lane Hutson, has. This is not to say that Andrae is incapable of putting up points, but he will not be able to make up offensively for what he may not be able to do defensively.

Next. Wade Allison. dark

Even worse is that Andrae is not the only prospect vying for a spot this year, and will be joined by Yegor Zamula, who had made the Flyers’ opening night roster last year, Adam Ginning, Will Zmolek, and Mason Millman. Andrae is arguably more talented than all of these players, but no two roster battles are ever the same, especially when size is a major factor.