IF FLYERS TRADE CARTER HART, WE’LL TAKE THE REBUILD SERIOUSLY!

By Jenny Masters

Flyers general manager Daniel Briere is reportedly seriously considering trading goalie Carter Hart.

That would be a bold move, considering Hart has been a fan fave for years.

Even though he has never become the next Bernie Parent, as many observers predicted.

In fact, the new Flyers decision-maker has publicly stated that he has to listen to any offers coming his way.

Hart entered the league five seasons ago, and turned in a couple promising seasons.

He recorded a .917 save percentage in his rookie season. His sophomore season saw him post a .914 save percentage and 2.42 goals against average.

However, Hart has taken some steps back since his second year in the league. Much like Anaheim Ducks goalie John Gibson, you could chalk this up to poor teams around him. On the other hand, though, this could just be what Hart is.

Either way, Hart is 24 years old, so there’s potentially higher upside here. If the Flyers get the correct return, they’ll have to pull the trigger on a trade. And with that in mind, here are three potential landing spots for Carter Hart, courtesy of ClutchPoints.com:

3) San Jose Sharks

The Sharks are in the midst of a rebuild of their own. That would normally take them out of the conversation for big splashy moves. However, the potential long-term benefit here makes it a worthwhile risk.

Sharks starting goalie James Reimer is headed for unrestricted free agency this summer. His numbers were less than ideal, so it’s hard to imagine the veteran making a return to San Jose.

General manager Mike Grier could find another journeyman on the market. Or, he could make a deal for Hart instead. It’d give the Sharks a potential franchise goalie to develop along with the rest of the roster.

Grier has to sign Hart, a pending restricted free agent, to an extension. San Jose has around $14 million in cap space as of this writing, so the financials in that extension shouldn’t be much of an issue.

2) Montreal Canadiens

The Canadiens have likely seen the last of Carey Price in their net. Price is dealing with a knee injury that has probably ended his playing career. Montreal now needs a franchise goalie to take the reins.

The Habs currently have Jake Allen and Sam Montembeault as their goaltending tandem. This is less than ideal for any team looking to take the next step. Both are solid backup options, to be fair. However, neither are suitable starting caliber netminders.

Hart immediately gives Montreal a starting-caliber goalie and a potential franchise option. He’s also put up better numbers than Allen and Montembault on a similarly bad Flyers team.

Montreal could swing a trade for Hart before moving one of their current options on for more assets. The Canadiens aren’t far off from taking the next step. Acquiring Hart moves them closer to that next level.

1) Ottawa Senators

The Senators have made it publicly known that Cam Talbot will not return next season. Talbot unfortunately dealt with injuries in Ottawa and it just didn’t work out. With him gone, there’s no clear starting option.

The Senators cycled through a number of different options last season. Mads Søgaard and Anton Forsberg are the two main options, but Magnus Hellberg and Kevin Mandolese also saw time in goal.

Hellberg left midseason to join the Detroit Red Wings, so he’s gone. The rest of these options aren’t starting-caliber players. Especially not to the extent Carter Hart is, even with Hart’s struggles taken into account.

There’s also the new owner, Michael Andlauer, to take into account. Perhaps he wants to make a splashy move to signal to the fanbase that the Senators are serious about competing for real this time.

The Senators have talent up and down the ice, without question. A good mix of veterans and promising young players gives Ottawa an optimistic outlook. Hart would fit in very well with this group.

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