The Flyers are soaring: 20-year-old goaltender Carter Hart turns Flyers’ season around

Matt Rushforth, Sports Editor

The Philadelphia Flyers have won 11 out of their last 14 games to improve their record to 26-24-7 and still give themselves a chance of reaching the 2018-19 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

After a shaky start to begin the season, the Flyers fired both their head coach and general manager to what it seemed like, start the teams rebuild. Just before the holiday break, the Flyers stood at a 12-15-4 record at the very bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. After eight straight losses to start the new year, the Broad Street Bullies were just about running out of options.

There were rumors the Flyers were going to begin to seek trades for multiple players to officially begin a franchise wide rebuild, the biggest one being long time winger Wayne Simmonds.

Then, there was Carter Hart.

The 6’2 20-year old goaltender stepped between the pipes for Philly and is now being argued as the future Flyers franchise goalie. The youngster has seemed to completely turn around the team’s chemistry and will-power as the Flyers find themselves back in the wild-card hunt.

The Flyers have had a long past juggling through goaltenders. On Jan. 7, the Flyers started a league tying record seventh different goaltender in one season. It is obvious Philadelphia hockey fans have waited a very long time for the arrival of a player like Hart.

On Jan. 14, the Flyers used a 7-4 win over Minnesota to start a tear. Philly went on to win the next eight straight to get themselves back into playoff talks, nearly all of which with Hart as goaltender.

The Flyers eight game win streak was eventually ended with a shootout loss to the Los Angeles Kings back on February 7th, where Hart was given the day off and Anthony Stolarz was given the start for Philadelphia. Hart was given the following start in net for Philly against the Anaheim Ducks, where the Flyers won 6-2.

Which brings us to the question, where did this young goaltender come from?

The Flyers drafted Hart in the second round (48th pick) of the 2016 NHL Draft and has spent the last few years with the Flyers AHL affiliate, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Hart was one of the teams final cuts prior to the 2018-19 season.

Hart began to get noticed after leading Team Canada to the 2018 World Juniors Championships gold-medal. The Flyers knew they had a potential star in Hart, but the question was whether it was too early to give the 20-year old a chance in the big leagues.

Hart answered the Flyers questions when he won his first two NHL starts against the Detroit Red Wings and Nashville Predators back on Dec. 18 and 20.
The Flyers know there is plenty of hockey left and plenty of time for Carter Hart to either make or break his rookie year in Philly. Philadelphia is currently in sixth place in the Metropolitan division, six points behind of the final spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.