The Philadelphia Flyers do not have a good track record when it comes to goaltenders.
This franchise has gone through a boatload of masked men. Bernie Parent is the only Flyers goaltender to win the Stanley Cup, something he did back-to-back in 1974 and 1975 while also earning back-to-back Conn Smythe Trophies as the league’s best player in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Since then, no Flyers goaltender has been able to deliver hockey’s Holy Grail to their franchise. Yes, Ron Hextall came close both in 1987 and 1997, but other than him, the Flyers have not had a true gamer between the pipes.
It appears that this franchise is at a crossroads once again when it comes to their goaltending. With Keith Jones becoming the team’s President of Hockey Operations and Daniel Briere becoming the team’s general manager, the franchise is looking to go in a new direction in order to get back to its winning ways.
Regarding this team’s goaltending, it is currently on the shoulders of Carter Hart. Hart, 24, was the 48th overall pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft and was deemed to be the franchise’s future in between the pipes.
Thus far, that has not been the case. He has only brought the team to the playoffs once and is just 84-84-0-26 with a 2.96 goals-against average, a .906 save percentage, and five shutouts. Those numbers certainly do not scream franchise goaltender, far from it.
This is why there have been trade rumors that the Flyers are going to trade Hart. In fact, after the team traded defenseman Ivan Provorov back on Tuesday, June 6th, Briere said that no one is off the table regarding being traded.
“We’re open for business. We listen on everybody. Everybody’s being treated the same way for us on our side.”
While trading Hart is something the Flyers will have in the back of their minds, there should still be hope when it comes to this goaltender. I believe that the Flyers should not give up on him. For starters, he is still young. He has yet to hit his prime. He is still growing as an NHL goaltender, and his best days are ahead of him.
Speaking of his best days being ahead of him, Hart actually got off to a great start in his career. In his first 74 games, he was 40-26-0-4 with a .915 save percentage, which showed that he could not only win hockey games, but he could also do a good job of stopping the puck.
Hart has the tools to be a great goaltender in this league. He is someone that does not give up a lot of rebounds, is usually in a good position for first and second shots, plays the puck well, and can come up with big saves when his team needs him to.
His numbers do not tell the whole story regarding his play. The team in front of him has not played well over the last few seasons, so the fact that he is still stopping over 90 percent of the shots he faces is remarkable.
When it comes to the Flyers, goaltending is not the real problem. Yes, Hart can be a lot better, but in order for that to happen, Jones and Briere need to come together to make the team in front of him more formidable. If I were the Flyers, I would continue to roll with Hart in hopes that he becomes the franchise goaltender that he is supposed to be.