The Philadelphia Flyers gave fans, and the hockey community as a whole, a big surprise on Oct. 6 when they waived forward Wade Allison. Not only does the move give the green light for Tyson Foerster and Bobby Brink, but it allows the opportunity for another prospect to steal ice time from one of the team’s gray hairs.
Emil Andrae was one of the pleasant surprises of training camp and the preseason, and the young defenseman managed to show enough strong play to outweigh his inconsistencies in his own end. The 21-year-old is still waivers-exempt, so it’s not like the Flyers absolutely had to waive a player like Allison in order to avoid losing Andrae.
Aside from Andrae, Philly already has seven defensemen on their roster, including the Swede’s main competition that consisted of Nick Seeler, Marc Staal, and Yegor Zamula. Given the age and contract statuses of the first two, we can deduct that Zamula and Andrae will rotate with them on a regular basis to get some playing time.
Furthermore, the decision to keep another left-shot defenseman in Andrae over a righty like Ronnie Attard goes to show how impressive the former SHL star has been. Rasmus Ristolainen and Sean Walker are the only right-shot defensemen – excluding Ryan Ellis – on the Flyers, while the other six are all lefties.
We can’t plan the parade for Andrae just yet, though, because the Flyers technically still need to cut one more player. The last of the rank-and-file training camp guys is goaltender Felix Sandstrom, who was already revealed to have lost the team’s backup goalie job to fellow Swede Sam Ersson. Sandstrom does need to pass through waivers in order to reach the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, but Philadelphia is out of arrows in their quiver with Allison already out of the mix.
Andrae will still need to compete with three other players for ice time on a daily basis, but seeing the miniature Kimmo Timonen make his Flyers debut will be a real treat for the fans. The youngster has some serious juice, and it’s only a matter of time before he gets his first opportunity at the NHL level.