There’s no place Carter Hart would rather be, which makes all the sense in the world. The 20-year-old goalie, like all 20-year-old hotshot prospects, wants to be in the big show.
Considering the Flyers have had four goalies get hurt and they lost Cal Pickard on waivers, Hart’s time came earlier than expected in a season that looked so promising in September and quickly became disastrous. Of course, Hart doesn’t want to be in a losing situation and the Flyers don’t want him developing in a scenario where losing has become the norm.
“I think he’s done well,” Wayne Simmonds said Monday night, struggling to find answers after the Flyers lost a seventh straight game. “He’s tough mentally. I think you can tell that with the way he plays. If he gives up a goal he’s right back in there and makes the next save. He gives us a chance every single night that he plays for us. We’ve got to take it upon ourselves, the guys who are playing in front of him to be better for him.”
“A lot of these games where…one or two steps going our way…we’re not far off,” Hart pleaded. “I know it doesn’t look like that, but if you look at our most recent games, we’re not far off and there were games where we definitely deserved better fates and I think we just have to keep working it and stick to our game and just compete.”
The question is how much longer Hart gets that chance.
Both general manager Chuck Fletcher and interim coach Scott Gordon, who has been behind the bench for every one of Hart’s professional games, seemed reluctant to say that Hart should be in the NHL when the Flyers recalled him out of necessity on Dec. 17. Outside of one poor game where he allowed three goals on 10 shots on New Year’s Eve against the Carolina Hurricanes, Hart has answered the bell. In his first seven games, Hart had a .909 save percentage. Only Elliott, who had a .911 save percentage in 14 games, performed better.