Everett Silvertips

Flyers prospect Wyatte Wylie in good company with Everett Silvertips

Christina Daly/NBC Sports Philadelphia

Flyers prospect Wyatte Wylie in good company with Everett Silvertips

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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More on the Flyers

Flyers prospect Carter Hart says so long to Twitter, hello to pro life

Flyers prospect Carter Hart says so long to Twitter, hello to pro life

By the day, even by the hour, Carter Hart looks and sounds more and more like a professional.

He's worked with a sports psychologist to tackle the mentality of goaltending.

He's noticeably stronger and his dietary habits are impressive.

His hockey résumé is in tip-top condition.

He turns 20 years old in August and will no longer look like a pro in 2018-19.

He will be one — and already with some added preparation.

"I actually just deleted my Twitter the other day because there's no point in all that," Hart said a week and a half ago at Flyers development camp. "You see a lot of news and stuff, and whether it's positive or negative, you just don't want to hear that stuff. For me, I just try to stay away from it and worry about what I'm doing and where I'm at right now."

A wise move by a kid who exudes wisdom, a precociousness that has Flyers fans gaga over his future, which is nearing. The 2016 second-round draft pick seems destined for his first AHL season but will fight for an NHL job come September.

"I want to be a Philadelphia Flyer next year," Hart said. "That's my goal."

At the junior level, he showed he's ready for his next challenge. He set records with the WHL's Everett Silvertips and put up a staggering 1.60 goals-against average and .947 save percentage in 2017-18.

While those numbers are nice and shiny, Hart will be the first to point out the stark difference between junior and pro hockey. 

"In juniors, you have guys that are 16 years old that some of them are just hitting puberty now," Hart said. "In pros, you're dealing with men. So you're going from playing with boys to men, so obviously it's going to be a jump up but I think you just have to adjust and adapt to everything."

If there's a prospect to bank on doing so, it's Hart. The readiness factor goes beyond the numbers with the netminder.

"People that haven't met him and don't work with him day in and day out just see what he does on the ice, but for me, it's that whole maturity and professionalism that he's already completely grasped," Everett general manager Garry Davidson said to NBC Sports Philadelphia in May. "Because there are guys his age that are going to the pro game that are going to have to learn all of those things and some of them will never learn it and will come up short. But he's got that already going for him."

Hart will use it throughout the summer and especially during the fall when he's back in Voorhees, New Jersey, for training camp. He's aware of the situation all around him — from the number of goalies in the club's picture to Flyers fans calling his name.

Aware, but not focused on it.

"I just have to worry about doing my job and going out there and playing and performing," he said. "Coming to camp in September, my job is to just stop the puck. The only thing that really matters is what I think of myself. I can't worry about what the staff thinks, what management thinks, what other people think, what fans think — I just have to worry about what I think as soon as I step out on that ice."

Hart has that down.

And he understands his life will soon be different.

"You're going to be on your own pretty much completely for laundry, eating, groceries," Hart said. "I've talked to a lot of people and that's the biggest transition from junior to pro is not having a billet. I know my billet Parker Fowlds is probably the best there is."

Fowlds won't miss Hart on Twitter.

"He doesn't even know what Twitter is," the goalie said with a laugh.


More on the Flyers

Carter Hart makes more history with 2nd CHL Goaltender of the Year award

Carter Hart makes more history with 2nd CHL Goaltender of the Year award

As Flyers fans eagerly await the Carter Hart era, the 19-year-old made more major junior hockey history Saturday afternoon.

Hart was named the 2017-18 CHL Goaltender of the Year for the second time. He is the first goaltender to win the award twice as the honor wraps up one of the best junior careers ever.

He took home the award in 2015-16, his draft year, and was one of three finalists last season. Owen Sound’s Michael McNiven (Canadiens) won it in 2016-17 over Hart.

In 2017-18, Hart led all WHL goaltenders in goals-against average (1.60), save percentage (.947) and shutouts (seven), and that is counting missed time because of mono and the world juniors. Everett lost to Swift Current in the WHL Final, but to little blame of Hart. The goalie posted a 2.40 GAA and .921 save percentage in 22 playoff games for the Silvertips.

The CHL Goaltender of the Year is the second time Hart has captured history this spring. Earlier this month, Hart became the first goalie to win the Del Wilson Memorial Trophy (WHL top goaltender) three times when he won it for the third consecutive year. He also won the 2017-18 Four Broncos Trophy (WHL MVP). He obtained gold with Canada during the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championships, where he recorded a .930 save percentage in seven games.

With his Everett career over, Hart will be remembered as one of the best goalies in major junior history. He finished his career with 116 wins, a 2.01 GAA, .927 save percentage and 26 shutouts, tied with Tyson Sexsmith (Vancouver, WHL) for the most ever in CHL history (see story).

The Flyers drafted Hart with the 48th overall pick in 2016, making him the first goalie selected. As Hart’s junior career ends, the highly touted prospect will turn pro next season. This week, he joined the Phantoms for the remainder of their AHL playoff run.

As the Flyers’ goaltending continues to be a circus filled with mismanaging, underwhelming performances and injuries, the calls for Hartmania to begin in 2018-19 will only grow louder. But studying how Flyers general manager Ron Hextall has previously handled prospects, it remains highly unlikely that Hart will be a Flyer come October. It should be noted, though, Hextall refused to say whether Hart needed a full season in Lehigh Valley next season, which left the door open, however slightest, for the goalie to earn a spot in The Show in training camp.

A lot would have to fall Hart’s way for that to happen. Hextall is notoriously ultra conservative with his prospects and Hart would have to prove that not only is he NHL ready but that he's also better than one of Brian Elliott or the oft-injured Michal Neuvirth. There is plenty of summer left and how Hextall handles the Neuvirth conundrum may tip his hat on how he views Hart’s readiness.

For now, though, Hart has closed the door on the Everett chapter of his hockey career as the best goalie in the CHL for the second time in the past three years. A fitting end to an otherwise fantastic pilgrimage through the WHL.

“It is hard to say goodbye to Everett, whose fans love their team and have taken us in like family,” Hart told Philly Voice. “I’m taking a little piece of Everett to another place whose fans love their team, Philadelphia. I can’t wait. All I want is a chance to prove myself.”