Flyers Call Up Carter Hart
Much like Pearl Harbor, December 17th, 2018, will be a day that will live on in Flyers infamy. The team made two major transactions, one that will have a major impact on the short term, the other which could effect the team for the next decade. One was expected and welcomed, the other was shocking and met with some concern.
In going of chronological order, we'll cover the second one first since it was officially confirmed first. The Philadelphia Flyers have officially taken a huge gamble, promoting goaltender phenom Carter Hart to the NHL, who will likely make his NHL debut Tuesday against Detroit.
Before we get to Hart's call-up, let's cover the rest of our bases of the rest of the Flyers goalies. Brian Elliott is out week-to-week and will not return this calendar year. Anthony Stolarz has been placed on IR, out 2-4 weeks with a lower-body injury. Alex Lyon was sent down to the AHL in the wake of Hart's promotion. Michal Neuvirth is back from paternity leave and will likely back up Hart Tuesday.
Hart was selected 48th overall in 2016, the first goalie selected in his draft year, by then-GM Ron Hextall, one of three 2nd rounders taken by the Flyers that year. Over the last few years, the Flyers have sat back and watched Hart develop into arguably the best goaltender prospect in the world. He is a 2-time CHL goalie of the year (the first one ever), backstopped Canada to a World Junior championship last year, and is tied for the most shutouts in CHL history (26).
However, after a respectable training camp, Hart was sent down to the AHL, where he had mostly struggled at first to adapt to the increase in talent going from the WHL to AHL. He is 9-5-2 with a .901 save% and 3.05 GAA, but has a .939 save% in his last 5 games and earned his first career pro shutout on December 7th. Undoubtely, Hart is getting better, but is he really NHL ready, or is this just a panic move by Fletcher?
The call-up of Hart is confounding at best and concering at worst. If Hart struggles and is sent back down, it could have lingering effects on Hart's confidence and harm his development. Of course, there is always the chance that Hart proves himself ready and takes the reins of the Flyers goaltending situation once and for all. I do not kid when I say that Tuesday's game may have decade-long implications for the future of the Flyers. Let's hope it's the beginning of the end of our Hartbreak.