The Flyers are trying to aid Carter Hart's reset by having the 22-year-old goalie hone in on practice, practice, practice this week.
Hart didn't suit up Monday night and won't dress for Wednesday's night game, either. The team then finally has two days between games before visiting the Islanders on Saturday. The Flyers saw this stretch as ample opportunity to allow the struggling Hart to focus on nothing more than practice repetitions and extra work.
"We're going to stay that way for a little while here," Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said Monday. "He needs to work on his game, he needs to work harder, he needs work better.
"Just like our team, everybody benefits from good practices and Carter's going to benefit from practicing here."
The fifth-place Flyers, however, do not have time on their side in the chase for a playoff berth. The schedule is crammed and on Thursday the calendar turns to a crucial April.
To further facilitate Hart's reset, could the Flyers look for external help at the April 12 trade deadline?
On TSN's Insider Trading segment Tuesday night, TSN insider and The Athletic columnist Pierre LeBrun reported that the Flyers' front office is discussing it.
"My understanding is that the Flyers' front office is having that discussion internally: Do they go out and get goaltending help before the April 12 trade deadline, allow Carter Hart to have a bit of a reset, work on his game?" LeBrun said. "Brian Elliott's been a pro but he might need help. But on the flip side, what does that do to Carter Hart if you do that? So there's pros and cons to all of this, and that's what I believe they're discussing."
LeBrun mentioned how the Flyers' next seven games before the deadline will carry a lot of weight with the decision because the team needs to stay in the hunt for it to possibly happen. If the club does decide to pursue a goalie at the deadline, LeBrun said he believes Jonathan Bernier is "on the radar of the Flyers."
Bernier is a 32-year-old veteran who can become an unrestricted free agent after the season. He's 8-6-0 with a 2.78 goals-against average and .918 save percentage in 17 games for the Red Wings this season.
Elliott has been critically reliable once again this season, but he turns 36 years old next week. The Flyers have to be careful they don't wear him down and risk injury. If Hart returns to the crease soon and shows signs of improvement, that could make the Flyers' decision easier.
But right now, the decision is not an easy one. Like LeBrun said, the Flyers want to have Hart's best interest in mind; he is the club's future. What would an acquisition do for his confidence? Could it complicate the goalie picture right now with Hart and Elliott? Do the Flyers need help elsewhere?
All factors the Flyers will be weighing as the deadline nears.
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