The Philadelphia Flyers weren’t waiting for the Stanley Cup Final to finish to start the offseason trade frenzy.
In a three-way deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets and Los Angeles Kings, the Flyers shipped out long-term defenceman, Ivan Provorov, in exchange for a number of draft selections and players that further signifies the rebuilding era in Philly.
New General Manager Daniel Briere is not wasting any time making his mark on the team, and many sources are saying that this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Carter Hart is an extremely intriguing name to come up during trade talks. At just 24 years old, Hart has established himself as one of the league’s best up-and-coming young goaltenders. Although his career expectations were astronomical after just his first few seasons in the NHL, Hart still has a long career ahead of him.
For teams looking to upgrade their goaltending position, Hart would make a lot of sense.
Enter the Edmonton Oilers.
After making a big splash last season with the free-agent signing of Jack Campbell, and a Calder Trophy level season from Stuart Skinner, the Oilers exited the playoffs with goaltending still being the biggest question mark.
Would Sherwood Park native Hart make sense for the Oilers? Let’s take a look:
Through five NHL seasons, Hart has had somewhat of a roller coaster ride in terms of statistics:
|Season||GP||GSAA (5v5)||GAA (All Situations)||SV% (All Situations)|
While his NHL career got off to a hot start, it was quickly followed by two COVID-19 impacted seasons that saw his numbers fall off a bit of a cliff. The 2020–21 season was particularly brutal where he had a GSAA of -22.73. Of course with the divisional realignment, and the disruption of most regular life, it’s hard to fault a 22 year old not playing his best.
That being said, last season the Flyers were absolutely atrocious and despite the rest of the roster’s incompetence, Hart had a strong individual season.
Playing in the most games in his career at 55, Hart’s season was overshadowed by the emergence of Samuel Ersson. With the Flyers now acquiring Cal Petersen in the trade today, suddenly the Flyers crease is crowded. The team is most likely not looking to have a young goaltender entering his prime be their starting goaltender, but rather look to acquire a haul of picks and prospects to help fuel their rebuild.
The Oilers fit
Now it goes without saying that the Oilers are not in desperate need of a starting goaltender, with Skinner proving himself as a true number one this past year. His numbers were even better last year compared to Hart:
That being said though, there is a clear movement away from a starter-backup model to a 1A-1B tandem. Campbell had one terrible season with the Oilers, and there is a chance that he can bounce back, but it’s possible that the Oilers look to immediately upgrade that role with Hart.
Hart comes just over $1M less than Cambpell’s current cap hit, which could be some essential savings for the team. Unfortunately that is just for one more season and that could end up costing the team even more long term. Depending on where Skinner ends up in his career, it could end up being a smart move or a costly one for the team.
Additionally, looking at the acquisition cost the Flyers want what the Oilers simply do not have. The Oilers have just three picks over the first four rounds in the next two drafts, it would be hard to swallow parting with at least two of those. Despite being in “win now” mode, the team would most likely want to retain some of their top prospects to not completely empty the cupboards.
The fit just doesn’t seem the best.
Maybe next time
Although the narrative around the home town kid coming back to the Oilers would be delicious, it’s just hard to see a reason why or how the team could acquire Hart.
Giving up on Skinner and Campbell as a tandem after one lackluster playoff series seems like a drastic decision. Combine that with the fact that the acquisition cost, and future contract, could even further hurt the Oilers future, the team would be better suited looking for upgrades elsewhere.
In this league, never-say-never but it’s hard to fathom this being the most likely trade destination for Hart.
Photo by Curtis Comeau/Icon Sportswire