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March 16, 2023

Flyers Prospect Check: Emil Andrae, Tyson Foerster, and the Phantoms' playoff push

Andrae, the top defensive prospect from Sweden, and Foerster, up with the Flyers now, are both expected to help the AHL club in the playoff race.

The Flyers' top prospect overseas is coming stateside to help the Phantoms in their playoff push. 

Swedish defenseman Emil Andrae will be skating with Lehigh Valley on a try-out basis for the rest of the season, the AHL affiliate announced Thursday, with an entry-level contract from the Flyers likely to follow at some point down the line. 

Taken in the second round (54th overall) of the 2020 draft, Andrae has made waves within Swedish hockey and the Flyers' prospect pipeline over the past couple of years as a smooth-skating, puck-driving blueliner – one who has excelled especially on international stages such as World Juniors and, this year, in his first full season as a pro in the Swedish Elite League. 

Playing in 51 games for SHL club HV71, the 21-year old posted six goals and 20 assists for 26 points, going -3 on the international ice. 

With the Phantoms, he'll be joining a minor-league squad that, as of Thursday, is 31-23-3-3 (68 points) and holding a playoff spot within the AHL's Atlantic division with 12 games to go. 

A strong North American debut and showing out of the gate would not only do wonders for Lehigh Valley, but bode well for Andrae's NHL trajectory also. 

Balancing Foerster

Tyson Foerster, another top prospect, is getting a look with the Flyers right now and, so far, has been holding his own. 

The 21-year old right winger will go back down to the Phantoms at some point, again, to help in their playoff push, but he should expect at least a few more games up with the NHL club before then. 

With Foerster, the organization is trying to balance Lehigh Valley's schedule and its own, given that after Sunday against Wilkes-Barre Scranton, the Phantoms won't play again until next Saturday. The Flyers, meanwhile, are on a seven-game homestand that started Tuesday night against Vegas and will run through March 28 against Montreal.

"We're just trying to navigate both situations," head coach John Tortorella said after practice Thursday. "I've said right along it's very important that Lehigh, they get a good run in the playoffs. Hopefully they get in. We're keeping an eye on that so we're just trying to play against the schedules from both teams."

In three games up with the Flyers so far, Foerster has been thrown right into the fire, going up against legitimate playoff contenders in Carolina, Pittsburgh, and then Vegas. 

He hasn't found the scoresheet yet, but on a team failing for any kind of offense, he has at least been helping them get the puck moving the other way. 

In Tuesday night's 5-3 loss to the Golden Knights, Foerster skated 17:21 on the second line next to Kevin Hayes and Brendan Lemieux and on power play 1 with Noah Cates and Owen Tippett, generating three shots and some decent possessions on a unit that is creating opportunities but just struggling to finish any of them. 

"I just love his puck poise," Tortorella said Thursday. "I like how he protects it at certain times. I don't think there's a lot of panic in his game. Big body, obviously can shoot the puck. It's been encouraging his first three games here."

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