— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) April 22, 2021
Carter Hart Injured
Hart’s knee injury occurred sometime during the game against the Pittsburgh Penguins last Thursday. It did not appear to be bothering him during the game, as he remained strong through the shootout to clinch a win. However, Hart was announced as a late scratch prior to Saturday’s bout with the Washington Capitals and has not played since then. He will not be travelling with the team to New York.
This season, Hart has regressed significantly. His .877 save percentage is 81st out of 92 NHL goaltenders and his 3.67 goals-against average is the same. In the wake of an excellent sophomore season, in which he recorded a .943 save percentage at home, Hart’s numbers this season are particularly disappointing.
Hart was originally drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in the second round, 48th overall and has remained with the team since. Over his three-year NHL career, he has a .908 save percentage and a 2.88 goals-against average.
What This Means for the Future
The absence of a starting goaltender is never a good thing. But given where the Flyers are right now, Hart’s injury won’t have a huge impact. First of all, it seems to be relatively short-term. Hart’s MRI reportedly came out fine and he’s only expected to be out for a few more games. This isn’t something that will affect the team’s long-term vision.
Additionally, the Flyers don’t have nearly as much at stake as other teams do. In recent weeks, losses in critical games caused them to slip out of the East Division’s playoff race. They now sit at sixth, eleven points behind the fourth-place Boston Bruins. As such, the rest of this season will be more about experimentation than vying for the postseason. They’ll test out different prospects and lines to get a head start on planning next year’s roster.
The only real downside to Hart’s injury is the timing. The young goaltender had seemed to be regaining some of his usual confidence prior to the knee sprain. Hopefully, Hart will pick up where he left off once he returns – but going a week without seeing NHL action will definitely make it harder for him to get back to being steady in the net.
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