VOORHEES, N.J. — This has always been the goal for the man in goal.
Carter Hart will make his much-anticipated NHL debut Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center. It’s a moment he will never forget, but one he feels he’s been prepared for following a remarkable and distinguished four-year career with the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League.
“It’s something I’ve dreamt of as a kid,” Hart said Monday (see story). “I’ve always wanted to be an NHL hockey player since I was 4 years old.”
Hart has long considered Montreal’s Carey Price as a measuring stick of how he views his NHL path.
Here’s a comparison of Hart and other notable goaltenders around the league:
Hart makes his NHL debut 127 days into his 20th birthday. Maxime Ouellet was the youngest in franchise history at 19 years, 112 days. Ouellet played two games with the Flyers in 2000 and was out of the NHL at the age of 24.
If Hart’s NHL debut doesn’t go as planned, then his coach Scott Gordon, a former NHL goalie, can provide some insight into the struggles of an up-and-coming goaltender. Gordon surrendered five goals in his first NHL game at the age of 26. A week later, on his 27th birthday, Gordon was ripped apart for 12 goals against the Washington Capitals.
NHL goaltenders develop differently. Hall of Famer Patrick Roy needed just one AHL game in his illustrious career while current Vezina Trophy winner Pekka Rinne played 145 games over three seasons with the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL.
No Flyers goaltender has ever won the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie. Ron Hextall came the closest in 1987 when he finished second to Luc Robitaille. More recently, Sergei Bobrovsky was seventh in Calder Trophy voting in 2011.
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