Report: Flyers likely to put goalie Carter Hart on the trade block
Interim Flyers GM Danny Briere is ready to kick off a full rebuild in Philly, and goalie Carter Hart could reportedly be one of many pieces heading out the door.
One team's castaway is often another one's treasure, and that could very well be the case a few months down the road with Carter Hart.
The Flyers somewhat abruptly fired general manager Chuck Fletcher late last week, slapping the interim GM tag on Danny Briere in the process. After officially taking over for Fletcher — who made the playoffs just once during his four-and-a-half seasons at the helm — last Friday, Briere will have a bit of time to show the direction he wants to take the franchise while proving to ownership and senior executives that he's the right man for the job.
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With that surely in mind, any speculation as to how the former NHLer would operate as long as he's in charge was squashed quite quickly over the weekend, with Briere making his philosophy very clear: it's full-on, tear-it-down-rebuild time in Philadelphia.
"I don’t think this is a quick fix," Briere said during his introductory press conference. "That’s my belief and that’s why I’m not afraid to use the word rebuild."
On his "32 Thoughts" podcast on Monday, Sportsnet NHL insider Elliotte Friedman and co-host Jeff Marek opened up the episode by breaking down a crazy weekend for the Flyers and looking ahead to their future, with Friedman dropping a particularly juicy nugget near the end of the segment.
"I think you're bang on with Carter Hart, you talked about him Saturday night — I think he's going to be available," Friedman said.
With competent starting goaltending so scarce around the league right now, it would seem a little odd (and risky) to consider parting ways with a quality, homegrown netminder who has generally proven he can be a solid NHL starter amid the chaos around him in Philly the past few seasons — and who hasn't even turned 25 yet.
This, however, is likely more of a timeline thing and a situation where Hart likely just won't fit in to the team's long-term plan. As Friedman noted on Monday, essentially any Flyers veteran with two or three years remaining on their current contract, and who doesn't fit the rebuild timeframe age-wise, will likely find themselves on the trade block.
(As Friedman added earlier in the episode, this is assuming the Flyers do eventually remove the interim tag from Briere and give him full reigns going forward, which is the most likely outcome here.)
The Flyers also have 23-year-old netminder and 2018 fifth-round pick Sam Ersson waiting in the wings if they decide to move on from Hart.
Earlier in the segment, Friedman also dropped another juicy nugget regarding Philadelphia's front office, saying he believes a Flyers franchise legend could be handed a prominent role.
"I do think that there is a move to have Eric Lindros be part of the organization — not necessarily president, but I think a part of the organization."
The Flyers have been a mess for the better part of a few years now, including 2022-23, as the team sits second-last in the Metro with a paltry 59 points through 66 games.
Hart, meanwhile, has played in 48 games for the Flyers in 2022-23, posting a 2.96 goals against average and a .906 save % — good for 12th among goaltenders with 35-plus starts this season. This year's stats essentially mirror his career marks (2.97 GAA and .905 save %) over five seasons and 194 games.
Hart's two best seasons in the NHL were his rookie and sophomore campaigns in 2018-19 and 2019-20, where he combined for a .915 save % over 70 starts.