The Philadelphia Flyers have locked up their young goaltender, signing Carter Hart to a three-year contract. The deal carries an average annual value of $3.979M. Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff provides the full breakdown:
Hart, 22, was absolutely brutal this season, recording an .877 save percentage in 27 appearances for the Flyers. That was a huge reason why Philadelphia fell out of contention early, though the rest of the roster also seemed to have down years. At any rate, the team obviously still believes in their young netminder, giving him one of the biggest second contracts ever for a goaltender his age.
There are lots of reasons to believe that Hart can turn things around. Not only was he one of the most successful netminders in CHL history, winning the Del Wilson Trophy as the WHL’s Goaltender of the Year in three straight seasons, but his early NHL career was also outstanding. In his first two seasons, Hart posted a .915 save percentage in 74 appearances, going 40-26-4 for the Flyers. It was easy to crown him as one of the league’s best up-and-coming goaltenders, a calming presence in the Philadelphia net.
Now, as the team commits a rather hefty sum to the young netminder, Hart will need to get back to that previous performance. The team won’t be able to go anywhere without a return to form, especially given who they brought in as a backup this year. Martin Jones, who was once a strong starter in the league, has posted an .896 save percentage in each of the last three seasons. Unless he experiences a career turnaround, the team won’t be able to rely on him to carry the load should Hart struggle.
This deal also means that Hart will be left with an expensive qualifying offer in 2024. That $4.479M offer will be a high price if he fails to return to previous form, especially as he will also be arbitration-eligible at that point. Because he started his career so early, Hart will actually be on track for unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2025, after he completes seven seasons in the NHL.