Carter Hart was not expected to play in the NHL this season. He needed time to develop in the American Hockey League. And that showed early on in his pro career. But injuries at the goaltending position forced the Philadelphia Flyers hand and Hart was called up in the middle of December.
It may turn out to be the best in-house move that the Flyers make this season. Hart has provided the team with stability in net. Something they desperately needed.
Carter Hart Playing Well For Philadelphia Flyers
The career of Carter Hart is only 11 games old. But the numbers have been impressive for the 20-year-old. In those 11 games, Hart has posted a 5-5-1 record to go with a 2.72 GAA and a .915 SV%. Hart has been pulled from one game in those 11 starts. He gave up three goals on 10 shots to the Carolina Hurricanes. His SV% has only been below .800 on two occasions. He’s averaging a .928 SV% in his other nine games.
He has finished above a .900 SV% in seven games, his best coming against the Dallas Stars where he ended with a .974 SV%. He only gave up one goal in that game. And that one goal came late in the third period. In a time when SV% is down league-wide, this is very impressive.
Among rookie goaltenders to appear in at least 10 games, Hart ranks third in save percentage. His goals-against average also ranks him third. He has played the second-least minutes among the other six goaltenders. The only goaltender to play less time than Hart is Mackenzie Blackwood, who has appeared in the same amount of games.
Hart has played in eight fewer games than Linus Ullmark, who has played the most among rookies. Despite that, Hart’s GAA and SV% are better than Ullmark’s. Though Ullmark has more wins, the numbers for Hart still look good when compared to other rookies at the position.
Looking deeper into Hart’s stats may be early at that point in his career, but it does paint a small picture of what the future could entail. When looking at Hart’s expected save percentage versus his actual save percentage, the numbers are almost identical. His xSV% sits at 92.51% while his current SV% is at 92.54%. His delta save percentage, the difference between the two percentages, sits at 0.03.
Among the 61 goaltenders who have played at least 10 games, that puts him at 31st in the league. So far, Hart is performing like an average goaltender.
Another area where Hart has impressed is in high danger situations. Looking at the same list of goaltenders, Hart ranks 21 in HDsv%. In those situations, he has an 82.14 percentage. Hart has faced 56 high danger opportunities while letting in only 10 goals.
Shots Aplenty For Carter Hart
Hart has seen plenty of shots and made plenty of saves since his debut. However, the numbers since the new calendar year have been among the most in the league. Hart will face another big test when the team takes on the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night. The Canadiens average the sixth most shots per game with 33.2. Hart sees an average of 30.1 shots per game.
Since Jan. 5, Carter Hart is 3-2-1 with 2.69 goals-against average and .925 save percentage. In those six starts, he’s made an NHL-most 196 saves.
The next closest is Andrei Vasilevskiy, with 170 saves in six starts.
Hart has faced a TON of shots and has more than held his own.
— Jordan Hall (@JHallNBCS) January 18, 2019
Hart is all but expected to be sent down to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms during the team’s mandatory bye week. The Phantoms will have three games during that span of time. And things won’t slow down when the Flyers return. The team will have a back-to-back and three games in four days. There will be a lot of opportunities for Hart coming up.
With no timetable set on either Brian Elliott or Michal Neuvirth, it is expected to be Hart’s net for the foreseeable future. Hart has not shown any reason for the Flyers to be concerned with him in net. The stats back that up as well. Carter Hart should be here to stay.
Main Photo by Kate Frese (@KateFresePhoto), licensed to Last Word on Hockey. The Photographer retains all rights to the photograph.