This could be a breakthrough season for Felix Sandstrom, the promising Flyers goalie prospect who will play his first full year in North America.
In all likelihood, Sandstrom, 22, will be playing for the AHL’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms and sharing the goalie duties with Alex Lyon. But it’s not a stretch that he could see some time with the Flyers this season if there is an injury to Carter Hart or Brian Elliott. Last season, injuries helped cause the Flyers to play a mind-boggling eight goalies, an NHL record.
“Every year is important,” Sandstrom said after the second day of rookie camp Sunday in Voorhees. “I feel like I’m ready to come over now. I’m really looking forward to the season. … It feels more real this time.”
Sandstrom, a third-round draft selection in 2015, had been playing professionally in Sweden. A hiatal hernia and some knee problems slowed him down last season and he played in only 19 games, putting together a 2.16 goals-against average and .910 save percentage.
“I learned a lot about myself,” he said about overcoming adversity.
Now healthy, Sandstrom, who played in one game for the Phantoms last season, will have to learn about playing in the smaller North America rinks and how to combat the increased traffic in front of the net. He looked quite comfortable Sunday and was the best player on the ice during a rookie scrimmage, displaying great lateral quickness.
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“I’m very confident in myself. I have a strong belief in myself,” said Sandstrom, who was named the best goalie in the World Junior Championships as he led Sweden to a silver medal in 2016-17.
Sandstrom said he has “always looked up to Henrik Lundqvist,” a fellow Swede who has spent 14 seasons with the New York Rangers. “But I try to watch as many [goalies] as possible and see what works for them and try it myself. I try to take the positives from everybody and see what I feel comfortable doing myself. That’s worked out pretty good for me, so I’m going to keep on doing it.”