After finally fulfilling his dream of playing in the NHL, Carter Hart is cool as a cucumber and confident as he starts again and again for the Flyers.
You would think he would be scatter-brained after being called up to the big club on December 18, 2018. Amidst the whirlwind end to 2018 and thunderous start to the new year, Hart has actually been living in Hotel rooms, yet somehow, the rookie remains composed, claiming it’s “Part of the business.”
“I’m in a hotel, so I don’t have a pitch handy (Laughing and Giggling). I eat a to-go box (Laughing), and this season has gone by quick. It’s been a lot of fun so far. I love it here. They have a great staff, great facility. I’m having a lot of fun here.”
This kid has electrified the fan base in a down season thus far and has cemented himself as the main guy next season between the pipes for the orange and black.
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 helped him fall in love with the sport at an early age, as he used to play when he was younger. Hart eventually found himself following in his Father’s footsteps and carrying on the legacy.
Hart would play for the Everett Silvertips for the 2015-16 season. This is the season in which a star was made, as Hart finished the year with a 2.14 GAA, a .918 save percentage, and six shutouts. He was also voted as the CHL’s best Goaltender for his efforts. Moreover, 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.
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 for the 2016-17 season. He even led his nation of Canada to a Silver medal as a member of Team Canada for the U20 WJC tournament. His dedication to skating was one key behind his success.
“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 needed to do. To be playing in the best league in the world you have to be a good skater. You can’t be a good goalie unless you can skate (You said it Laughing).”
Hart continues, “In the NHL plays happen a lot quicker. You have to execute plays, and you have to be a good skater to do that.”
This young man in Hart had to overcome some uphill 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 the official diagnosis was received. Unfortunately, this caused him to miss four weeks of the young season. However, this illness didn’t stop his motivation of entering the NHL at some point in his career.
Hart was well darn phenomenal as he put together quite a masterful year for the Silvertips. For the season, he registered a 1.60 GAA, and a .947 Save Percentage. Hart also registered his 22nd career shutout for the Silvertips, and with that, he happened to break the Silvertips shutout record that was previously held by Leland Irving with 21. For his efforts, Hart also finished the year as CHL Goaltender of the year, and also won a Gold Medal for his nation of Canada as a member of Team Canada for the U20 WJC tournament. Hart loves to practice, and this could have been one main reason for his successful season.
“With what little practice time you have. I’m determined to be at my best, pay attention to the little details. I’m fully prepared to be at my best. It starts in practice.”
For the 2018-19 season, Hart started with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. In his first Professional season, he registered a 3.05 GAA, and a .901 Save Percentage in 17 games played for the Phantoms. On December 18, 2018 he received a call-up of a lifetime when he was recalled by the Flyers.
Some people said he wasn’t ready for the big show, while others thought he was. Hart was built for this moment in the NHL, and he has really shown why he was considered the savior of the franchise. In just 9 games played he is 3-5-1, has a 2.54 GAA, and owns a .916 Save Percentage. Should we be surprised? Absolutely not.
He had the weight of Canada on his shoulders for two terms of the U20 WJC Tournament. Talk about the pressure of donning that Canadian sweater, and not succeeding. Hart’s tours of the WJC tournament have prepared him for the pressures, and rigors of the NHL.
Through all of this Hart is built as advertised. He’s a fine young man, that is just flat-out good. Hart has been everything and then some for the Flyers organization thus far. According to Hart, the Flyers told him to become the best Goalie in the CHL. Well, he did just that as he was the CHL Goaltender of the year twice. He’s as classy as they come, and Hart doesn’t forget one minute who got him to this point in his career.
“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. My Aunt Toni she’s amazing, she’s awesome, and Parker is, as well. My family is amazing.”
Hart reiterates, “I’m having so much fun, I love it here, and the fans.” Well, Carter Philly loves you back. Hart and Philadelphia were a match made in heaven when he was drafted. Philly fans are hard-working and blue-collar. Hart is as well, and it’s a perfect marriage that will hopefully last a lifetime.
Photo credit: Alex Mclntyre