Carter Hart had almost become synonymous with Everett.
He spent four seasons with the Silvertips, impacted the community and became the first player to ever win the Del Wilson Memorial Trophy (WHL's top goalie) three times and CHL Goalie of the Year two times.
"He was the pride of Everett," Wyatte Wylie said.
As Hart took the Flyers by storm in 2018-19, Wylie quietly plugged away in Everett, Washington, continuing the orange and black connection with the Silvertips. Wylie, a 6-foot, 190-pound defenseman, turned into a good reason for Flyers fans to continue keeping tabs on Everett. The Flyers' 2018 fifth-round draft pick enjoyed his best season of junior hockey with 47 points (11 goals, 36 assists) in 67 regular-season games.
Among WHL blueliners, Wylie was tied for seventh in plus-minus at plus-33 — the same mark as Bowen Byram, who was the best defenseman in this summer's draft and went fourth overall to the Avalanche. Yes, plus-minus is a debated stat with many factors — the role of the player, the talent of the team, etc. — but that's impressive company.
"I really take pride in that," Wylie said last month at Flyers development camp. "I know it all depends on who you play with and stuff like that, but just to be in the plus category is a big upside. I really worked on that, made sure I kept the puck out of my end and I could focus on the other parts of my game."
Like adding offensive production to his arsenal. Wylie has always been regarded for sharp play and decision-making in his own zone. But during 2018-19, he also saw a 16-point increase from 2017-18, despite playing five fewer regular-season games.
"I knew I had to improve in all aspects of my game," Wylie said. "Coming back from [2018 development] camp, I took as much as I could, the stuff they taught me about stick-handling, everything like that — it really helped me improve my offense because you're ready for that first pass out of the zone because you're not stick-handling, you're ready to send it."
Similar to Hart, Everett holds special meaning to Wylie. Not only is it where he has played hockey for five of the past six years, but it's also the city in which he was born. Wylie was the first player ever drafted out of the town, which is about a 30-minute drive from Seattle.
He and the folks in Everett are proud of Hart and not surprised by the goalie's ascension.
"It's awesome for him, everybody knew it was coming — it was just a matter of time," Wylie said. "He's an amazing goalie and I'm excited to see him."
The 19-year-old Wylie is eligible for a fourth and final season at the junior level. He has not yet signed an entry-level contract with the Flyers. At development camp, Wylie was uncertain if he would be returning to Everett for one more year. Things can change, possibly in training camp.
"If I end up going back there, I've just got to improve from last year and work on all aspects of my game," Wylie said. "Come back the next year ready to go."
It would also mean another year of keeping tabs on the Silvertips.
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