Carter Hart reflects on his first full NHL season & playoff experience

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The Flyers have been able to exhale after a crushing game 7 defeat to the New York Islanders. With a long wait between now and the uncertain start-date of the 2020 NHL season, players are virtually meeting with the media to recap on a year filled with highs and lows. One player fans have been waiting to hear from is Carter Hart.

After an electric first full season in the NHL, Hart left the orange and clad fans purring. Philadelphia’s franchise goalie rallied to a .914 save percentage, ranking 10th overall in wins, looking almost unbeatable at home with a dominant 20-3-2 record.

There were absolutely reasons to be concerned about Hart going into the postseason. Could he handle the pressure? How would the bubble and lack of atmosphere impact his mindset? If anything, Hart was among the Flyers’ top performers throughout a grueling month of August.

In 14 total games, Hart rallied to a 9-5 record, picking up a pair of shutouts in the process. He ranked 3rd among goalies who played in 10+ games in save percentage (.926%) and 5th in GAA (2.23).

There were of course some teething problems and games Hart would want to go back and play again, but these were balanced by a 27-save outing against the Canadiens and an incredible 49-save effort against the Islanders. For Hart, it was all about staying neutral.

“Obviously playoff hockey is different.” The former Silvertips goalie explained. “You are playing almost every second day. I think it was a little different in the sense that we were in the bubble. I think the NHL was trying to get things done quicker so we had a couple back to backs. Recovery and rest are important as well. Playoff hockey, sometimes you can find yourself down and you can find yourself up. There was always a lot of those ups and downs. I think we just have to find a way to stay even-keeled and try to stay consistent as possible.” 

If Flyers fans can take anything away from the team’s bubble experience, it’s that Carter Hart truly is the real deal and is still so young in his development that the ceiling is incredibly high. The composure and production from Hart in the postseason was unbelievable and he’s only going to get better from here on out so long as he keeps his head looking forward, which is something he seems to be doing.

I felt good in the net. I think obviously in the season, there’s ups and downs. You really just have to find a way to find that consistency. You find that through practice and all your office habits. In the playoffs, I felt good. I think we did a good job here this season. Obviously we had some adversity as well and we battled through it. Came on really hot at the end as a group there. Took that over to the playoffs there with the round robin and the first round there.

Obviously you’re going to run into some speed bumps there in the regular season and the playoffs. The Isles were just the better team. Going forward, I made a lot of right steps. I think we have the right group here that can really do some damage. I think we just have to believe in each other. I think this experience that we just had in the bubble, in the playoffs and in the season is only going to help our group moving forward into next year.

Talking of the future, it’s going to be a very different offseason for Hart, so finding a sense of normality will be key. The wonderkid opened up on what these next few months hold from a workout perspective and which areas he will be looking to strengthen.

Probably just like a normal offseason I guess. I took a week off here from training and started back up yesterday because I just felt so lazy sitting around the house the whole time. I needed to be doing something. We’ll see with ice and stuff. Probably will take a little bit of time off the ice here to give my body some rest. Just kind of got to wait and see.

I haven’t really lifted a lot during the playoffs. More so mobility. Getting my body accustomed to working out every day. We were playing hockey every second day. It can be hard to get your off-ice training in and get your weight lifting in. I think it’s important that you ease yourself back into things and go from there.

All-in-all, Carter Hart was sensational in the 2019-20 season and if he can replicate that form once again next year, we may really be witnessing the start of a remarkable career.

Photo Credit: Alex Mcintyre