With the 143rd overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, the Philadelphia Flyers selected goaltender Samuel Ersson from VIK Vasteras of the Swedish Allsvenskan league. Last season he was with Brynas IF J20 of the SuperElit league. Ersson was ranked 7th among European goalies by NHL Central Scouting
Ersson stands 6’2” weighing in at 176 pounds. Last season Ersson put together a very nice season with a .920 save percentage in 40 games. He struggled in the playoffs as he posted a .857 save percentage in 5 games. Ersson also played one game for Brynas IF in the SHL and in that game had a save percentage of .882.
This is what Hockey Prospect’s “Black Book” had to say about the Swedish goalie:
Ersson is a modern-day butterfly goalie, who possesses a calm demeanour and fluid movement. His fluidity allowed him to come out of his reverse V-H or drop into it before most short-side shot attempts could get through. His ability to transition from a butterfly to a standing position and visa-versa is impressive. Furthermore, his butterfly is technically refined and this allows him to seal it shut on most shot attempts, as well as being able to absorb rebounds at a high-rate. It works in combination with his plus puck-tracking skills, giving him the ability to square up and stop the initial shot. It’s rare to see Ersson have to scramble since he doesn’t over-commit on most shot attempts and his rebound control reduces his need to make recovery saves.
To further the point of Ersson’s “calm demeanour” the “Black Book” also referenced how he “rarely looked disengaged or frustrated when he let in a soft goal or when he was under siege”. This is something that can make or break goalies at times. We’ve seen even greats like Henrik Lundqvist lose control of his game because the defense makes a mistake in front of him. So the fact that Ersson already seems to have this mental aspect of his game down, is without a doubt a good sign.
The Swedish netminder was also referred to as having “starter potential” and one of the “sleeper goalies” of this draft class. The main concerns with Ersson seem to be his overall athleticism and sometimes being too minimalistic with his movements. Goaltenders can be so hard to read, and even though we have the likes of Carter Hart and Felix Sandstrom in the pipeline, it’s never a bad idea to draft a goalie in the later rounds. Especially when he has the potential of a guy like Ersson.
Alexander Appleyard of The Athletic ranked him approximately just behind Kirill Ustimenko in terms of Flyers goalie prospects under 24.