The Philadelphia Flyers made their first big move of the offseason Tuesday afternoon when they traded Ivan Provorov to the Columbus Blue Jackets, but reports suggest Carter Hart could be the next big domino to fall before the draft.
Carter Hart appears to be at a crossroads for the first time in his pro career – Hart is not an old goalie by any means, but the potential franchise netminder no longer fits the Philadelphia Flyers’ rebuild timeline. The same can be said for Ivan Provorov, who was drafted only one year before Hart. Provorov yielded an impressive haul for new Flyers GM Daniel Briere, and it is expected that Hart can bring even more back to Philly, given that dependable, young goaltenders are much harder to find than second-pairing defensemen.
The Edmonton Oilers might know this better than any team in the NHL. Ken Holland and the Oilers sought to plug their biggest weakness – leaky goaltending – in 2022, and it worked for the most part. 24-year old Stuart Skinner emerged as a regular season hero, posting a 29-14-5 record and usurping the starting role from struggling veteran Jack Campbell. Campbell, who signed a five-year, $25 million contract with the Oilers in the offseason, posted a paltry 0.888 save percentage across 34 regular season starts. In the playoffs, their performances were reversed. In 12 playoff starts, Skinner went 5-6-0 with a 0.883 save percentage, while Campbell posted a 0.961 save percentage in four relief appearances. Just like that, the Oilers are back to square one.
With the Oilers tethered to Campbell for another four seasons, Briere and the Philadelphia Flyers have another opportunity to wreak some major havoc. Ken Holland might be feeling the flames after another disappointing playoff exit, and the embattled GM might have the ammunition to make a desperate attempt to straighten out the back end. As the Flyers are still a ways away from competing, it could be smart to make another move like they did with Columbus and the Los Angeles Kings today.
In exchange for taking on Jack Campbell’s contract, and a star young goaltender in Carter Hart, Briere should be asking for Dylan Holloway, Philip Broberg, or both. Ken Holland has notoriously been an aggressive trader, and it might only take as much as Briere dangling the bait in the water for him to bite.