But if you trade Hart…
What’s he worth? Well, first of all, his salary is very reasonable. That gives a year of control to another team. Then, they can figure out an appropriate salary afterwards. But he is cheap.
If you look at his stats, he is 84-84-26 lifetime with a goals against average of 2.96 and a save percentage of .906 in five seasons. Hart is also just 24, turning 25 in August. In comparison, Hasek didn’t become a full time starter until he was 29 in his fourth year in the NHL. Roy had won 132 game on a perennial Stanley Cup contender, but had a GAA of 2.83 and a save percentage of .898 and had still won two Vezinas in the same time span as Hart.
Hart has played decently on a floundering team that made the playoffs in just one season during a pandemic in his five year career. It’s a team where most of the top players have been decimated by injuries. He’s played under three coaches and three general managers. It’s a team that has always been in flux. But he’s handled it well. That makes his price go up.
On the other hand, he has also ended the last few season with injuries and has been shut down. That could be a concern as well.
What could/should Briere get for Hart?
If anything, because the Flyers don’t need to trade him, they should sell super high on him. I would start the bidding with at least one first round pick. Multiple first rounders should do it or a first with a bunch of seconds and thirds thrown in. If a team won’t completely mortgage their future on Hart, a first rounder + a top NHL ready prospect or two or some very young good talent.
So, theoretically, if the LA Kings can’t sign Joonas Korpisalo to a contract, they’d need a goalie. If the Kings offer a first rounder in 2025, a second rounder in 2026, and Viktor Arvidsson or two top prospects, that might be worth it.
Briere may have to play some teams off each other to see if he can drive up the price if the Flyers are that willing and wanting to move him. At the point, someone will overpay and the Flyers will benefit.
I would much rather see the team try to extend and keep Hart. But if there are concerns about his play, about his health, or about his commitment to the team, then sell high now. It’s better to sell while the iron is hot before it all unravels and you are in a situation where you are forced to sell and you might be lucky to get a fifth round pick as long as you retain a hefty portion of his salary.
It’s not an easy question to ask and there is no easy solution. What’s more important right now? A potential franchise goaltender or the possible return on what trading him away could gain you?
At the same time, if you look at some of the Stanley Cup semifinalists, the Vegas Golden Knights and Carolina Hurricanes made a deep run with guys who are not established names (although Adin Hill is looking like a star). Perhaps having a platoon of goalies, like Detroit had with Chris Osgood and Mike Vernon in the 90s, is better than having just one star goalie.
Whatever Briere and company decide to do in the next few weeks or months, let’s hope it turns out for the best. Moves are always better analyzed looking back after time has passed. But when you make a move, you have to commit to it and hope for the best. Come what may, as long as it improves the Flyers, it is a good deal.
Again, I’d rather not see him go. But at the same time, I didn’t want to see Mark Recchi go in 1994. His trade ushered in one of the great eras in Flyers history; even if they didn’t win a Stanley Cup.