It’s time to get serious, and serious about Carter Hart winning the Calder Trophy. There’s no way around it, Carter Hart has rejuvenated an otherwise stagnant franchise, and breathed life into this Flyers organization. He’s doing so with his stellar play, and with stuff like this…
Me when people told me “Carter Hart isn’t ready for the NHL.”pic.twitter.com/K5WDg5lNln
— D. Bobb (@PodStreetBobb) February 5, 2019
Ok, now I’m done joking. Yes, Elias Pettersson for the Vancouver Canucks is having an outstanding season and is considered the front-runner by many to take home the Calder. However, you can’t deny the success and the impact that Carter Hart is having with and on the Philadelphia Flyers. Hart is 10-5-1 with the Flyers this season and has won 7 in a row, and 8 of his last 10 games. His save percentage stands at .925 and his goals against average is 2.48.
How does that compare to past Calder Trophy winners that played goalie in the NHL?
Let’s start with former Flyer Steve Mason. Mason is the most recent goalie to win the Calder, posting a 33-20-7 record with a .916 save percentage and a 2.29 goals against average. Mason’s year was great for a rookie, and he was even 2nd among votes for the Vezina Trophy.
Andrew Raycroft of the Boston Bruins took home the award during the 2003-04 season. He was 29-18-9 with a .926 save percentage and a 2.05 goals against average. Raycroft’s goals against average was stellar that year, and he finished in 5th place for Vezina voting as well.
San Jose’s Evgeni Nabokov is next on the list of Calder winners. Naby had a 32-21-7 record while posting .915 save percentage and a goals against average of 2.19. Nabokov was 4th in Vezina voting that year, and has since enjoyed a long career, mainly with the Sharks.
Now we get into the Hall of Famers.
Martin Brodeur won the Calder Trophy during his rookie campaign back in 1993-94. His numbers were decent for a goaltender, standing at a .915 save percentage and a goals against average of 2.40. Brodeur finished 7th in Vezina Trophy voting, but won the award 4 times in 5 seasons, spanning from 2002-2008.
Ken Dryden is the next Hall of Fame goalie to win the award. He won the Calder Trophy during the 1971-72 season with the Montreal Canadiens. His record stood at 39-8-15 with a save percentage of .930 and a 2.24 goals against average. Dryden had a short career, spanning only 8 season, but took home the Vezina Trophy 4 times in a row from 1975-1979, and won it two years prior during the 1972-73 campaign. He also won the Conn Smythe during the 1971 playoffs, the year before he became rookie of the year.
Tony Esposito, one of the pioneers of the butterfly style of goaltending, won the Calder during the 1969-70 campaign for the Chicago Blackhawks. “Tony O” was 38-17-8 that year and boasted a .932 save percentage along with a goals against average of 2.17. Esposito won the Vezina Trophy on 3 separate occasions, once the same year he won the Calder, another in 1972, and the last coming in 1974.
The first goalie to win the Calder Trophy while the NHL kept track of goals against average and save percentage was Glenn Hall of the Detroit Red Wings. Hall went 30-24-16 for the Red Wings that during the 1955-56 season and posted a save percentage of .925 and a 2.10 goals against average as well. Hall went on to win the Vezina Trophy 3 times during his career, and was routinely an all-star, and as Hart Trophy candidate as well.
So what does all this mean for Carter Hart’s chances to bring home the Calder Trophy this year?
Well, for one, his goals against average is a bit higher than the average GAA of the last 10 goalies to win the Calder Trophy (2.32 average vs. Carter Hart’s 2.48). Most of that can be attributed to the porous defense that stood in front of him at times. However, Hart’s save percentage is well above the average save percentage of those 10 goalies (.918 average to Hart’s .925).
It may be a disadvantage to Hart that he has only been playing in the NHL for part of the season, but the stats tell more of the story than the record. He’s only .16 GAA off of the average winner over the last 10 winners, and his save percentage is .007 better, which is more than it may seem. With 28 games remaining in the season, he may not achieve the win totals of past winners, but he can still have a win percentage around the same, if not better, as the past winners.
The hype is real. Carter Hart should be considered for the Calder Trophy based solely on the fact that he has rejuvenated the Flyers franchise that was treading water until he arrived on the scene. His stats only back up the argument. Pettersson’s stranglehold on the top spot may be slipping, and Carter Hart will likely be there to take hold of the award if Pettersson looses his grip completely.
Photo Credit: Alex Mclntyre