Alexei Kolosov, Cal Petersen, Carter Hart, Philadelphia Flyers, Samuel Ersson

Flyers Could Reap Multiple Benefits From a Carter Hart Trade

Goaltender Carter Hart is set to endure the growing pains of the Philadelphia Flyers’ rebuild, but trading him to a contender could make sense for both the player and the team.

(Please note that this piece will not focus on the ongoing 2018 Canadian World Juniors investigation, as no information is known at this time.)

Flyers Are Rebuilding

The Flyers have not made it a secret that they are rebuilding.

Related: Flyers’ Rebuild Poised for Success

Hart is just 24 years old and will be entering his prime in the time it takes for the Flyers to complete their rebuild. With one year left on his contract, he will likely be looking for a long-term extension on his next deal. If so, the Flyers may be using up the best years of their franchise goaltender’s career when they won’t be true Stanley Cup contenders for a decent chunk of time.

Carter Hart Philadelphia Flyers
Carter Hart, Philadelphia Flyers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Management would be doing a disservice to Hart and the team overall to rebuild during his prime years when they would be better off getting futures for their netminder, so they are more equipped to win games when the rebuild is over.

Flyers’ Strong Goaltending Prospects

Although it’s been a while, goaltending is arguably the team’s biggest strength in terms of depth.

Related: Philadelphia Flyers 2023 Prospect Pyramid

With goaltenders Alexei Kolosov, Carson Bjarnason, and Yegor Zavragin in the system, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, even without Hart.

Goaltenders are generally a difficult position to draft, but the Flyers have done well recently. If these players pan out, Hart would likely become the odd man out.

Flyers’ Goaltending Has Potential Without Hart

Hart had a terrific season, considering the team’s struggles defensively, but the Flyers should have confidence in their goaltending without Hart.


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Samuel Ersson was better than his numbers suggest in his first games with the team, posting a .899 save percentage (SV%) and a 3.07 goals-against average (GAA). Ersson started off strong with a six-game winning streak but ended the season with a 6-3-0 record. Nonetheless, head coach John Tortorella showed faith in him:

He’s come in every time we’ve asked him to do something. He’s played very well, so it’s really encouraging not only for the short-term here, [but] for long-term also.

John Tortorella on Samuel Ersson after a performance against the Calgary Flames

Starting-caliber play would be a high expectation, but he showed that he could handle that kind of workload, as he was the starter for the Flyers’ AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley Phantoms on top of his NHL duties.

Samuel Ersson Philadelphia Flyers
Samuel Ersson, Philadelphia Flyers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

In addition to having Ersson, the Flyers traded for goaltender Cal Petersen from the Los Angeles Kings as part of a salary dump this summer. While Petersen struggled mightily last season with a .868 SV% and a 3.75 GAA in his 10 NHL appearances, there was a reason why he signed a three-year, $15 million ($5 million cap hit) contract just two years ago.

Cal Petersen Los Angeles Kings
Cal Petersen, Los Angeles Kings (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Petersen has shown that he can be a great goaltender and perhaps just needed a change of scenery. If Hart is moved, some improvement from Petersen will be vital for the Flyers to win games, which is a reasonable expectation.

Flyers Need to Save Money for Their Rebuild

Although the salary cap is rumored to be on the rise during the next few seasons, the Flyers still need to treat their available cap space with care. Rebuilding teams need as much cap space as possible so they have freedom in their trades and signings. If Hart signs an extension in Philadelphia, not only would it be lengthy, but it would also be expensive.

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If the Flyers can find elite goaltending within their system, spending significant money on Hart would not be the best choice. Getting assets and saving cap space for the future might seem enticing for general manager Danny Briere. With this in mind, Briere should pull the plug on Hart before the season’s end.

Should the Flyers Trade Hart?

Committing to Hart would be a no-brainer if the Flyers were contending, but management is focusing more on the team’s future than the present. With that being said, it might be a smart course of action to see what kind of assets they can get in exchange for their star goaltender.

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