The Philadelphia Flyers will be without their young goaltender for the next several weeks, as Carter Hart has been ruled out with an abdominal strain. Hart suffered the injury yesterday at practice and will be out for two to three weeks. The team has recalled Alex Lyon from the minor leagues, while also sending Joel Farabee down to the AHL (though Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer still expects him to play for the Flyers on Thursday). Chris Stewart has also been placed on waivers.
Hart, 21, holds the future of the Flyers in his hands as the goaltender expected to hold the net in Philadelphia for the next decade. One of the most decorated goaltenders in CHL history, the young netminder quickly made his ascension to NHL starter in his first professional season and returned this year with high expectations. Those may have been a bit premature given his age, as Hart has been inconsistent throughout the year and currently carries a .905 save percentage.
Still, without him things look even bleaker in Philadelphia. Brian Elliott, brought in to take some of the pressure off of Hart, has been close to dreadful with an .896 save percentage and 9-5-3 record. Lyon, himself once a promising goaltending prospect has been average in the minor leagues and doesn’t appear to have the skill to start on a regular basis in the NHL. That leaves a question mark in goal for the next few weeks, though it may be coming at the perfect time.
After tonight’s game against the St. Louis Blues, the Flyers have just three games remaining before their bye week and All-Star break festivities. That means Hart will have some time to recover in time for a stretch run that could come right down to the wire. Philadelphia sits six points behind the New York Islanders for a divisional playoff spot, but still slightly ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets in the wild card race.