Written By Jason Voorhees
Don't get your hopes up yet folks...but I think the Flyers have FINALLY found their Goalie of the Present and his name is Carter Hart. Back in December I wrote a post on the Flyers young prospect and I stated the case that Hart was indeed not only the goalie of the future...but that the future is NOW. Now I don't want to pound my chest and tell everyone that "I told you so!" But I must say that as a die hard Flyers fan...it has been an absolute pleasure to watch this kid play in his first NHL action.
In fact, Hart has been everything as advertised and then some since his callup in mid December. In 13 games, he has a 7-5-1 Record and has posted a 2.51 Goals Against Average and a .922 Save Percentage. These numbers are stellar. To emphasize Carters excellence even more...there have only been 42 goalies in NHL history to start more than 10 games in a season at age 20 or younger. Of those 42 goalies, no one had posted a higher save percentage than Hart.
Although this is a very small sample size...these numbers put him in elite company. Numbers are just numbers and its truly the eye test that tells the entire story.
And Carter Hart has aced that test with flying colors. Hart plays with poise and confidence that far outweigh his years of life. He approaches every game like it will be his last. He plays every puck with ferociousness and tenacity that is unmatched. Hart stick handles with patience and awareness. He is definitely a prodigy and will only get better playing his rookie season in the NHL.
After dominating the Western Hockey league the past two seasons...Hart began this season with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. However; after injuries took down both Flyers starters...the organization chose to call him up and give him a shot on the big league team. He has not disappointed and basically has tied their hands moving forward. Trust me when I tell you that this is a GREAT thing!
In a town where hockey fans have been starved of star goaltending forever and a day, Hart not only brings hope but he also brings an impressive resume and pedigree. This is real guys.
We finally have a stud goalie and he will be here for a very long time. Year in and year out the Flyers roster changes and they have had their share of star players in this organization. But one thing has eluded them all of these years and the same theme has run true year after year and that is their lack of talent behind the pipes. That my friends is now a thing of the past.
Carter Hart is the Flyers next FRANCHISE PLAYER. This is not a typo folks. This is a FACT. Hart is the one player that will take this team to the promised land. I believe that Carter Hart is the missing link that will carry the Philadelphia Flyers to multiple Stanley Cup Championships. It is evident that the kid is here to stay and now its just a matter of tweaking the roster here and there and just getting better with experience.
The trade deadline is fast approaching and new GM Chuck Fletcher has his work cut out for him. During their recent five game win streak, the club has in fact been heavily outshot by a 185-115 margin. However; the goaltending has kept them in games and in most cases won them these games. In those games Hart was 4-0 with the one win going to Anthony Stolarz.
At this point, Fletcher needs to make a few deals to help the Flyers for next season.
Now that the Flyers finally have their goalie, it is absolutely imperative that he improves the defensive talent in front of him. I think its time to move both veteran defensemen Andrew McDonald and Radko Gudas. I also think that the team moves Wayne Simmonds. Simmonds has been one of my favorite players on the team the past few seasons; however, he is the same type of player as James Van Reimsdyk (whom the team signed this past offseason in free agency). The return from a Simmonds trade should be decent and may even net you another veteran defenseman and a draft pick.
The Flyers young core on defense will only get better. Although Ivan Provorov began the season on a down turn, he has picked it up as of late and his future is bright. Shayne Ghostisphere is still a highly touted offensive defenseman, Then the team has a young Sam Morin set to return and probably will see young Philip Myers get called up as well. That would be a defensive 6 next season of Ghost/Provorov, Myers/Morin, and Haag/Sanheim.
I am also not sold on Scott Gordon behind the bench. I think Fletcher decided to give him a tryout, but ultimately I think the team goes after Quenville in the offseason. I think that Claude Giroux still has a lot in the tank and the team can be competitive the next few seasons. Its just a matter of surrounding the young pieces with some key veterans and a great coach. I believe that formula will finally bring home the Stanley Cup.
The Flyers have a ton of young talent that is developing in front of our eyes. It appears that the rebuild was not in vain and we are finally getting to see the fruits of that "process." Nolan Patrick. Travis Konecny. Carter Hart. Ivan Provorov. The youngest team in hockey continues to get younger but yet they are now getting wiser. With each passing game this team comes closer to the turnaround that we could see coming a few years back. Its just a shame that Ron Hextall will not be here to see things through.
For now just enjoy the ride folks. Watch these games and keep your eyes focused on #79. He is truly growing in front of us. Carter Hart wears his heart on his sleeves. This is the type of blue collar talent we have been waiting for. He has finally graced us with his presence and appears here to stay. That is excellent news for Flyers faithful. Hopefully all of those bad years have finally paid off as we see these young players coming into their own. The future is bold and bright for this team, and the sky is the limit for Carter Hart. Thank God we finally have a goalie to count on.