Philadelphia Flyers: No sophomore slump for Carter Hart

Carter Hart, Philadelphia Flyers (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Carter Hart, Philadelphia Flyers (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

There was no sophomore slump for Carter Hart during his second season in the NHL.

This was Carter Hart‘s second season in the NHL with the Flyers. Living up to the hype of his rookie season was going to be a challenge. Though, anything was going to be better than the eight goaltenders the Flyers iced last season.

Hart continued to show that he was going to be the Flyers’ goaltender of the future. In his first full campaign, the dominance on home ice was evident. He is 20-3-2 at the Wells Fargo Center. He’s under two goals-per-game with a 1.63 GAA and an impressive .943 SV%.

Hart is tied with Jordan Binnington and Andrei Vasilevskiy for the most wins at home. His save percentage is fourth, though Elvis Merzilikins is the only one with a close amount of home starts (15). The goals-against-average is third among all goaltenders. It’s a little different on the road, however.

Out of every goaltender to have played at least one game this season, Hart ranks 57th in road wins with just four. The save percentage puts him in the bottom 10 of the league, though everyone below him has only played in one game. It’s a similar story in GAA as well.

He had looked good in recent road victories, though, and may have begun to put that bad luck behind him. It doesn’t take away from the strong play he gives the Flyers on a nightly basis.

Overall, Hart is 24-13-3 and has a 2.42 GAA and a .914 SV%. The former is better than what he posted his first season, while the latter is slightly below it. Looking deeper, Hart has saved over four more goals than the average goaltender. That is shown in his 4.50 GSAA.

Hart is just above the mean in high danger chances as well, posting a .820SV%. That gives him a 2.00 GSAA.

But how do these numbers look against other goaltenders entering their second season in the league?

Jordan Binnington

The two came into the league at similar times. Both goaltenders made their debuts in December of 2018, though Binnington’s first start came in January of 2019. And we all know the magical run he would help take the Blues on.

For Binnington, he has come down to earth quite a bit during his first full season. The SV% dropped from .927% to .912%. And his GAA went from 1.91 to 2.58. The workload also increased, which likely plays a part. Binnington appeared in 32 games during his first season while playing in 50 this year.

He is third in the league with 30 wins. Save percentage has him ranked 35th, while his GAA is a few spots below Hart. Binnington does have three shutouts on the season.

Diving into some deeper numbers, Binnington is slightly worse when it comes to goals saved above average. He has posted a 3.36 GSAA, saving about three goals more per game. He has Hart beat by far in high ranger chances, posting an impressive 22.16 HDGSAA.

The Blues are in first place in the Central for a reason. Good goaltending from Jake Allen has helped, but Binnington has played a big role in that as well.

Alexandar Georgiev

Alexandar Georgiev debuted during the 2017-18 season, but only appeared in 10 games. He’s played in 33 and 34 during the last two seasons, so we can consider him in this group.

The numbers have gone down during each of his seasons, but he has also emerged as the starting goaltender for the Rangers. He has played in almost the same amount of games the past two seasons, giving us a good sample size to look at.

Appearing in one more game this season, Georgiev has posted three more wins than he did a season ago. However, he has jumped to a 3.04 GAA after posting one under three last season. His .910 SV% is slightly down from last season, but not by much.

His 17 wins are 29th in the league. Georgiev ranks below both Hart and Binnington in save percentage and goals-against average. He has a lower GSAA (-0.02) and HDGSAA (3.74) than Hart. He is the first to post a negative in either statistic.

MacKenzie Blackwood

Though MacKenzie Blackwood is technically considered a rookie this season, this is his second year in the NHL. He appeared in 23 games last season, just below the rookie cutoff. Blackwood has taken over responsibilities this season, appearing in 47 games for the Devils.

He ranks 13th in the league with 22 wins, 26th with a .915 SV% and 36th with a 2.77 GAA. So he has the three above beat in only save percentage. And he is barely beating Hart in that statistic.

Blackwood has all of the goaltenders mentioned above beaten in GSAA. He is saving over seven goals on average (7.35 GSAA). He is second among the group with a 5.68 HDGSAA.

Linus Ullmark

Linus Ullmark is the last of the group to be appearing in his second full season in the NHL. The Sabres goaltender had appeared in 25 games between 2015 and 2018. But that total didn’t come in a single season until 2018-19, so he was considered to be a rookie goaltender that year. That would make this year his second season.

The Sabres goaltender has appeared in 34 games this season, just below the 37 he posted a season ago. The win total has gone up to 17 while his other stats have improved as well. He is first among the group in goals-against average (.915) and third in save percentage (2.69).

Ullmark falls just below Blackwood with a 5.43 GSAA. He is by far the worst among the group when it comes to high danger chances. He falls far into the negatives with a -7.62 HDGSAA.

So among this group, Hart is on a similar level to that of Binnington. With the two being compared to the other last season, it only makes sense that they would be close again this year. While Hart’s numbers have gone down slightly from last season, they weren’t enough to show that his first year was a fluke. Another year in the NHL should give us a good look at projecting Carter Hart’s future