The Philadelphia Flyers have been dealing with goalie issues ever since the end of the Hextall era. Let’s just rattle off some goalies off the top of our heads that have been between the pipes for the Flyers since Hextall. You have Roman Cechmanek, Robert Esche, Sean Burke, Jeff Hackett, Antero Niittymaki, Ray Emery, Michael Leighton, *Sergei Bobrovsky*, Ilya Bryzgalov, Steve Mason, Michal Neuvirth and Brian Elliott. Aside from Bobrovsky and Bryzgalov, all of these guys are the exact same goalie. Bryzgalov is different because the dude was an absolute lunatic cartoon character. Bobrovsky is different because he’s gone on to win 2 Vezina trophies since the Flyers traded him away. But regardless, the Flyers have been plagued by mediocrity in the net for the past 20 years.
But there seems to be hope for the future just 2,842 miles to the west in Everett, Washington. And that hope goes by the name of Carter Hart. The Flyers 2nd round draft pick in 2016 has been named the WHL Goaltender of the Week for the fourth straight week.It’s the 13th time in his career with Everett that he’s been the goalie of the week. In 17 games this season, Hart has a 1.32 GAA and is posting a .961 SV%. In those 17 games, he’s had 5 shutouts. He hasn’t given up more than 3 goals in a single game and only has 3 losses on the year. In his 3 games last week, he only gave up 2 goals total. So yeah, I think it’s safe to say that he’s outgrowing the WHL.
The only hope the rest of the goalies in the WHL have right now to win any weekly awards will be when Hart goes to Buffalo to play for Hockey Canada at the World Juniors. He was the team’s starting goalie last year who ultimately ended up losing the gold medal game to Team USA in a shootout. And he’ll be the team’s starting goalie again this year. With guys like Jake Bean, Kale Clague, Dante Fabbro, Cale Makar and now Victor Mete playing defense in front of him, it wouldn’t surprise me to see that .961 SV% carry over to the World Juniors.
And yes. I’m fully aware that goalie prospects are never a sure thing. Success in the WHL doesn’t automatically translate to success in the NHL. But when you have 5 shutouts in 17 games, are Team Canada’s starting goalie for 2 straight years at the World Juniors, and have the last name HART, well then I think it’s safe to say the Flyers have their goalie for the future. Is he ready to come up this year? No. Will he be ready to come up next year? He should at least be able to start the year with the Phantoms in the AHL. But the Flyers have all the young talent they need on defense. They have their goalie for the future just waiting to get brought up. They have guys like Nolan Patrick and Travis Konecny who just need to get their confidence up before turning into studs. I know that Flyers fans are sick and tired of hearing this, but the future is bright.