With the Philadelphia Flyers still looking for an answer in net, they’ve turned to the future. Carter Hart, one of the top goaltending prospects in the world, has been recalled by the team, while Anthony Stolarz has been placed on injured reserve. Stolarz will be out two to four weeks with a lower-body injury.
Hart is likely to receive his first NHL start on Tuesday night, and he’ll do it with a familiar face behind the bench. Scott Gordon, who has been coaching Hart at the minor league level, will serve as interim coach after the firing of Dave Hakstol on Monday. It will be interesting to see if Gordon installs Hart as the full-time starter right away, given the uncertainty surrounding the rest of the Philadelphia goaltenders. Michal Neuvirth, the only other healthy netminder, was away from the team for the birth of his child though could be back in time for Tuesday’s game. Brian Elliott joins Stolarz on injured reserve while he recovers, meaning it could be Hart’s job to steal over the next few weeks.
The 20-year old goaltender is one of the most hyped prospects in recent history, coming to the professional ranks with an impeccable junior career. A three-time WHL Goaltender of the Year, two-time CHL Goaltender of the Year and recent WHL Most Valuable Player, he also helped Canada to a pair of World Junior Championship medals. The second-round pick got off to a shaky start in the minor leagues but has recently found his game, and now carries a .901 save percentage through 17 appearances.
Still, this is an incredibly short path to the NHL for Hart and he will carry an immense amount of pressure. The Flyers are in the midst of a disastrous season that has now cost both the head coach and general manager their jobs, and very well could spell the end of some core on-ice talent’s run with the team. Not so for Hart, who will be looked at as one of the key future pieces and an appealing perk for any incoming coach.