The Philadelphia Flyers triumphantly closed out their 2023 preseason campaign with a 5-2 win over the New York Islanders, but with less than a week until opening night, the club still has some difficult decisions to make.
The Flyers still have Tyson Foerster, Bobby Brink, Emil Andrae, and Felix Sandstrom loitering on their roster, and they’ll need to cut two of them in order to get down to the maximum roster size of 23. The problem, though, is that Sandstrom requires waivers, and the other three have all impressed.
The Flyers could opt to keep Andrae over one of the forwards, but that will leave them with eight defenseman. This makes the signing of Marc Staal seem a little silly, given that Yegor Zamula also requires waivers. In terms of roster composition, Philly has only hamstrung themselves.
Prediction: Flyers cut Andrae, trade Sandstrom
At the end of the day, the Flyers have to make the tough choice and send Andrae down. The 21-year-old has impressed in stretches during the preseason, but ultimately could work on his consistency a little bit as well. Honestly, if Philadelphia hadn’t signed Staal or traded a pending free agent like Nick Seeler, Andrae walks into this team. Instead, the Flyers play it safe and bide their time until later in the season where the young Swede can then make his belated 2023-24 debut.
Sandstrom is more of a curious case given his very limited experience in North American hockey. The former SHL shot stopper has only 25 games of NHL experience, 25 games of ECHL experience, and 64 games of AHL experience. None of his results have been particularly encouraging, but he’s looked OK this preseason.
Would some goalie-needy team throw a dart at Sandstrom and see if he can stick? It’s within the realm of possibilities, and if he doesn’t work out, he’ll go right back to this square one: staring down waivers.