Remember the 2016 World Cup of Hockey? Yeah, that was a thing. It was kind of fun, mainly because it was (sort of) competitive hockey in September before the NHL season began.
The best part of the tournament was Team North America, a squad compiled with the best players from the United States and Canada 23 years old and younger.
Shayne Gostisbehere was 23 then and made the team. If you like speed and skill — you know, what makes hockey fun — it was eye candy.
In the past two days, The Athletic has looked back at Team North America. On Thursday, it was a pretty cool retelling of the North America-Sweden game.
Today, Craig Custance decided to put together a hypothetical Team North America roster for 2018, and while Gostisbehere graduated, there was one (soon-to-be) Flyer who made it.
Yup, Carter Hart.
Hart would join 22-year-old Thatcher Demko, a Vancouver Canucks 2014 second-round pick, as the goaltenders. That's a combined zero NHL games between the two.
Not exactly as polished as the 2016 group of John Gibson, Connor Hellebuyck and Matt Murray, which had a combined 105 regular-season games between them at the time.
Custance highlighted that this was a problem for the original 2016 Team North America squad — finding goalies 23-and-under. Stan Bowman, one of the masterminds behind the 2016 team, told The Athletic:
A calendar year ahead of time, the one thing I remember about is we had no goalie. We were even trying to petition to see if they would change the rules a little bit. At the time, Matt Murray and Connor Hellebuyck, they had never even played a game in the NHL. I remember, Peter (Chiarelli) and I got the response back, ‘No, that’s just the rules, you just have to deal with it.’
As for how Hart and Demko made the team, Custance references The Athletic's Corey Pronman's top 100 NHL prospects list in which Demko (No. 2) and Hart (No. 5) crack the top-five goalie prospects.
Hart was one of the Flyers' final cuts during training camp, but the plan always was to have him spend the 2018-19 season with the Phantoms. He made it hard on Ron Hextall, though.
Hart made his professional debut last Saturday in the Phantoms' regular-season opener, allowing three goals on 34 shots but made several huge saves in Lehigh Valley's 6-3 win over Bridgeport.
But watching Hart goaltend an even better Team North America in a hypothetical 2018 World Cup of Hockey would be hella fun.