The Philadelphia Flyers are rocking and rolling these days, and it has some people around the Philadelphia Region singing, “The Jingle Bell Rock.” They are receiving some awesome goaltending from Brian Elliott. Flyers fans aren’t accustomed to this type of goaltending, as the orange and black haven’t had good, consistent goaltending since former President of the United States Ronald Reagan was in office.
Elliott appears to be a stop gap goaltender at the moment. With the likes of Carter Hart, Felix Sandstrom, Alex Lyon, Anthony Stolarz, and Matej Tomek the Flyers are hoping that the goaltending woes are a thing of the past. Hart in particular is kicking some major butt with the Everett Silvertips this season. He is currently playing for Team Canada at the World Junior Championships, and Hart had a 23 save shutout on Wednesday night in a 9-0 rout of the Czech Republic. With all this success at the goaltending position. It’s hard to believe that Hart wanted to become a forward when he started playing hockey.
Being a native from Canada, Hart developed a love for the sport of hockey practically when his born. Hart was born on August 13, 1998, in Edmonton, AB, CAN. His dad got him to fall in love with the sport at an early age, as his father used to play when he was younger. Hart eventually found himself playing for the Everett Silvertips for the 2015-16 season. This is the season a star was made, as Hart finished the year with a 2.14 GAA, a .918 save percentage, and six shutouts. These insane numbers placed him on the cusp of being drafted into the NHL, and the Flyers were happy to scoop him up in the second round of the 2016 NHL Draft. Hart describes his surreal moment of hearing his name get called by the Flyers, and he can’t thank his family enough.
“It was definitely a day I’ll never forget. My family was with me. It was surreal hearing my name get called, and I’m pretty excited with all the history the Flyers organization has. Just going down there shaking Ron Hextall’s hand for the first time was definitely something I’ll never forget.”
Hart continued, “My dad played hockey and he kind of got me into hockey. Originally, I wanted to be a forward for the first 4 or 5 years. I switched over when I was 10 to goaltender. My parents have been a huge impact in defining me. They are my biggest supporters of me, and I wouldn’t be here without them. I can’t thank them enough for the huge sacrifice.”
The 19 year old standout in Hart continued to play for the Silvertips following the 2016 NHL Draft. He worked hard in the off-season to prove to the Flyers organization that they selected a stud. Moreover, Hart’s hard-work paid off in a big way, as he acted like he was the Incredible Hulk on the ice, registering a 1.99 GAA, a .927 save percentage, and 9 shutouts. His dedication to skating was one key behind his success, but there was some added motivation, as well.
“I like to work on my skating. You look at all the great goalies in the world today. Each one of them can skate well, so that’s what I need to do. Can’t be a good goalie unless you can skate (You said it Laughing). Philly told me go to Junior Hockey, and become the best player in juniors.”
This young prospect had to overcome some up hill battles to start the 2017-18 season. He was diagnosed with Mono on October 3, 2017. Hart missed the first two games of the season with what was reported as an illness. He tried to work slowly towards a return, until Hart received his official diagnosis. Unfortunately, this caused him to miss four weeks of the young season. However, this illness hasn’t stopped his motivation of entering the NHL at some point in his career. Hart has been…well darn phenomenal as he is putting together quite a masterful year. For the season, he has registered a 1.32 GAA, a .961 save percentage, and 5 shutouts in just 17 games played. Moreover, as Hart registered his 22nd career shutout for the Silvertips. He happened to break the Silvertips shutout record, that was previously held by Leland Irving with 21. Hart has registered a whopping 24 career shutouts (Not including his most recent shutout in the WJC for Team Canada). Could Hart’s success be contributed to whom he idolizes, or the type of food he loves to eat? One thing for certain is just don’t ask him about his current stats for the year.
“Please Please, Please, no stats until the end of the year (Giggling). I don’t look at them until the end (Laughing). You know my idols are Carey Price and Braden Holtby. They are really good goaltenders, who are both really good at skating. They are great puck handlers, and Carey is the greatest skater in the world.”
The young prospect Hart continues, “I loveeeeeeeee chicken penne alfredo. Well, you know what any type of pasta for that matter (Laughing). Oh yea don’t forget the sesame chicken at PF Chang’s either (Laughing) love that stuff. My roommate and I go there often it’s only 20 minutes from where I live.”
At the rate this young prospect is developing. Hart may very well be the Lehigh Valley Phantoms starting goaltender for the 2018-19 season. Of course, the Flyers have their work cut out for them in the off-season of what to do with young netminders in Anthony Stolarz and Alex Lyon. However, one thing that’s certain is Hart will be 20 years old at the time the Phantoms season starts, thus making him eligible for the AHL. Flyers fans the future is bright in Flyer land.
Mandatory Photo Credit: Chris Mast via Everett Silvertips