By Jenny Masters

Carter Hart called the abbreviated 56-game season “challenging for everyone. Tough circumstances, COVID and everything. Some guys, it didn’t affect them, and others more than others”

He finished with a 9-11-5 record, a 3.67 goals-against average, and an .877 save percentage. The latter two stats were among the worst in the NHL.

He did not resemble the guy who looked like one of the league’s best young goalies the previous season.

“I believe in myself and I believe that I can be a top goaltender in this league,” he said in a Zoomer call. “I’m just going to be looking forward to a great offseason of training. Get settled back in with my family and friends, and get a good plan going forward for this offseason.”

He hasn’t seen his family in the Edmonton area since December.

“You kind of go home and you’re just in your own thoughts the whole time because you just sit and sit in your apartment alone,” he said. “But things were a lot better at the end [of the season]. I was feeling a lot happier and hanging out with the boys more, and I think that that was kind of a big part of my [improved] play toward the end was just enjoying the game more and being more grateful for where I am — in the NHL, in the best league in the world.

“So instead of dwelling on other things, [I was] shifting my focus toward being more grateful.”

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