Philadelphia Flyers: Evaluating Carter Hart

The Philadelphia Flyers have called up Carter Hart.

For a team that has certainly under-performed thus far, the Philadelphia Flyers certainly have had the worst injury luck than any other team this season.

Most notably, the team has had issues between the pipes. First, Michal Neuvirth missed the first the first three weeks of the season, played one game, then went back on injured reserve (IR) until a week and half ago. Brian Elliott was not having the most impressive season before leaving the Flyers’ game against New Jersey back on November 15 with a lower-body injury. After being place on IR for what was supposed to be two weeks, he is now week-to-week until further notice. To make matters worse, Anthony Stolarz, who had played in nine straight games for Philly, is out two weeks with a lower-body injury. Now with Neuvirth the only net-minder on the Flyers’ roster, they had to make another call-up from the club’s AHL affiliate in Lehigh Valley.

Enter Carter Hart

The Flyers have called up the former Everett Silvertips (WHL) goaltender. The two-time CHL goaltender of the year had an incredible career in the WHL. In 190 games, he won 116 games, with a 2.01 GAA, a .927 SV%, and 26 shutouts in four full seasons. He helped Everett make it all the way to the Ed Chynoweth Cup Finals last year, as well as back stopping Team Canada to their first gold medal at the World Junior Championships since 2015.

Last year, he battled a case of mononucleosis early in the season, but once he came back, he had one of the best goaltending seasons in junior history. Hart went 33-6-1-3, with a 1.60 GAA and .947 SV%, and seven shutouts.

The Flyers drafted Hart in the second round of the 2016 draft, right after he was given his first Goaltender of the Year Award. He joined the Phantoms after his junior career ended. Unfortnately, Hart has yet to show the same success he had in the WHL so far in the AHL. In 17 games, he is 9-5-2, with a very high 3.01 GAA, and a .901 SV%. Despite the overall numbers for Hart in Lehigh Valley, Hart has picked up his play in recent weeks. He is 4-1 in last five starts, with a 1.89 GAA and .939 SV%. Plus, he had a 26-save shout against the Hershey Bears earlier this month. 

It was believed that the Flyers organization will take their time, and allow Hart to develop in the minors. However due to the amount of injuries, the Flyers have abandoned those plans for the short-term. 

What to Expect

With Hart playing well, he has momentum heading up to the big club. He plays a very athletic, yet compact style. He is a solid mix between Carey Price and Henrik Lundqvist. He has the calm and cool play like Price, and the agile, battling play of Lundqvist. 

It’ll be important for him to find a groove early in his first start. There is speculation that Hart will play Tuesday night against Detroit. Of course, the best way to see if anyone can sink or swim in the NHL is if you throw them in the water. Playing against Detroit may be the perfect opportunity to allow Hart to show if he can play in the NHL. Even if he’s just used as a filler until Elliott or Stolarz come back from injury, this little bit of experience will be important in the development of one of the most highly regarded goaltending prospects in some time.

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featured image photo credit – Nikos Michals


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