If you are a fan of the Philadelphia Flyers, you are most likely aware of the horrible goaltending situation.
Starting goaltender Brian Elliot is out for 6-8 weeks after undergoing core muscle surgery. Michal Neuvirth is also unable to play due to a lower-body injury.
Alex Lyon, the starting goalie for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, has had to step into a few games this season due to these injuries.
Recently, The Flyers acquired Petr Mrazek for a conditional 4th round pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft and a conditional 3rd round pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.
Mrazek is a 26-year-old goalie who has played a few solid seasons in a Detroit Red Wings sweater. The Czech goalie currently has a .910 save percentage and 2.89 goals against average through 18 games played this season.
Elliot is a 32-year-old goalie who has been named an all-star in 2012 and 2015. His best days are behind him and this has definitely shown this year, after posting a .908 save percentage and 2.72 goals against average through 41 games played this season.
Neuvirth has shown flashes of being a solid backup goalie throughout the past couple of years but still lacks the talent to take over the starting goalie job.
While these three are anything but star goalies, they are solid placeholders for what is yet to come
Carter Hart, a 19-year-old kid from Sherwood Park, AB, will be the goalie that saves the franchise.
Hart has already accomplished a lot in his young career. He has already been named CHL goalie of the year and just recently won a gold medal with Team Canada at the 2018 World Junior Classic.
But before he would accomplish any of these major accolades, he would first have to fall in love with his position.
At the age of 9, Hart chose to become a goaltender. He struggled early on. He broke many sticks and was letting the game get to his head.
When he was 10, he decided to start seeing John Stevenson, a sports psychologist who helped his on-ice performance and was also his goaltending coach.
His father, John Hart, decided to make the decision to send his son to Stevenson after watching him struggle with mental problems.
“John has been a big part of Carter’s career and I think that’s when things began turning around for Carter,” said John Hart about Mr. Stevenson.
Hart couldn’t stand being scored on. He couldn’t stand losing. He would get so infuriated that he would begin breaking his goalie sticks over the crossbar.
“Carter would go through 10, 12 sticks a year, breaking them over the crossbar. I had a few conservations with him and told him the next one he breaks will come out of his allowance,” said John Hart, after witnessing him play as a young kid.
After games, Carter would get into his father’s truck, a black Toyota Tundra, and display his emotions on the ride home. When he would lose, there would be tears. When he won, he was overjoyed.
One of the most notable moments that would occur in the Tundra was after Carter was cut from the Midget AAA Sherwood Park Kings. He was the player cut from the team that featured 15 to 18-year-old players. The young goalie left the rink with tears running down his face.
“This was the best thing that ever happened to him,” said John Hart. “He didn’t understand it at the time. He didn’t want to talk to anybody. He stayed in his room for a few days. It’s when he began taking his game to another level.”
Hart then decided that he would play Minor Midget AAA and became the MVP of the league. The Everett Silvertips drafted him in the 8th round with the 158th pick in the WHL Bantam Draft after that season.
Carter Hart is no longer flying under the radar. He had a solid rookie season in the WHL with an 18-5-5 record, 2.29 goals against average, and a .915 save percentage.
However, it would be his next two years that would help him become the 48th overall pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.
In his 2015-2016 campaign with the Silvertips, Hart posted a .918 save percentage and 2.14 goals against average. This was enough to earn him the honors of CHL Goaltender of the year.
In his next season, he would improve on his save percentage and his goals-against average. He also won a silver medal at the 2017 World Junior Classic, a game that ended in a devastating shootout loss.
Hart would use this shootout loss as motivation to win the gold in the following year. So far, through 31 games played in the 2017-2018 WHL Season, Hart has posted ridiculous numbers.
He has an insane .950 save percentage and 1.58 goals against average. It is looking like Hart will capture his 2nd CHL Goaltender of the year award, a feat that no other goalie has accomplished.
Carter is currently aiming to join the Flyers roster by the 2018-2019 NHL season. However, right now he is focussed on playing with the Silvertips.
“I’m in Everett right now playing for the Silvertips and that’s where my priority and focus is. To be honest, I haven’t thought about the NHL this year. I have a team to play for right now and a championship to win here.” said the CHL all-star.
Hart will wear number 79 when he eventually joins the Flyers roster. As for now, we can only sit back and wait until he eventually puts on the orange and black sweater.
Flyers fans will fall in love with his passionate attitude. It is only a matter of time until he reaches the organization and saves the team from a few more decades of poor goaltending.
Written by Ed Stokes (@Eichel_x_15). All Stats Courtesy of Hockeydb.
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