Monday saw the Vegas Golden Knights take a 2-0 lead in the Stanley Cup final against the Florida Panthers. The Tuesday after started quiet, but became very frantic very quickly. During the series “off day”, Ivan Provorov was traded from the Philadelphia Flyers to the Columbus Blue Jackets in a three team trade. The Los Angeles Kings were the third party, and ended up sending goalie Cal Peterson to the city of brotherly love.
Speculation followed immediately after that goaltender Carter Hart could be traded as well. The young goaltender seems to be the rebuilding Flyers most valuable trade chip. Tuesday afternoon a trade seemed imminent, but never materialized. It was confirmed by Darren Dredger that the Flyers are listening to offers and a few potential suitors have emerged. These are the interested parties, as per Kyle Cantlon of Yahoo Sports Canada:
"The rumored list of potential landing spots is fairly lengthy, as you’d expect, with the Leafs, Oilers, Senators, Sabres, Canadiens and Kings expected to be right in the mix to acquire Hart’s services."
Four Canadian teams seem to be in the mix with Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers, Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens. The Matt Murray experiment seems to have failed in Toronto. The Leafs still looked like they had a solid tandem of Ilya Samsonov and Joseph Woll.
Carter Hart’s days with the Philadelphia Flyers may be numbered. Let’s look at a few teams rumored to be in the mix for his services in net.
If the Oilers are seriously considering Hart, then it looks like they’re going to take a mulligan on Jack Campbell and his five year contract. They have Calder Trophy finalist Stuart Skinner in net who produced encouraging results. Maybe Skinner is the one Edmonton wants to deal? What value would a young goaltender who has proven he can compete in this league be to Philadelphia that looks like it’s going to have, at minimum, a few seasons full of losing?
The Ottawa Senators would be a great fit. Their strategy of using a 1A and 1B goalie tandem this year of Anton Forsberg and Cam Talbot didn’t work out very well. Both proved they’re better off as the “1B” in a goalie tandem with a better starter taking the “1A” reigns. Talbot isn’t getting any younger, and the amount of injuries both dealt with this year isn’t exactly encouraging. The Senators instability in net likely cost them taking a bigger step forward in their rebuild this past year. Hart would be an upgrade. Then again, maybe Ottawa is fearful of goalie reclamation projects after their own Matt Murray experience.
The Montreal Canadiens seem like the odd man out amongst the potential suitors north of the border for Hart. The Canadiens are still years away from contenting and in the middle of a rebuilding. Hart likely won’t push them any closer to speeding up that rebuild. Is the situation in Montreal even that much better than the situation in Philadelphia?
Then there are the two American teams rumored to be in the mix with the Buffalo Sabres and Los Angeles Kings. Just like the Senator, the Sabres were a team held back by their goaltending this year. Plus their number one from this past season Craig Anderson retired at the age of 42. Trading for Hart might show the Sabres have little confidence in Devon Levi. Levi had a small, but impressive, seven game audition at the end of last season when he posted a 2.94 goals against average and .905 save percentage. Many thought he would be the Sabres future in net, but trading for Hart would show the front office has other plans.
The Kings both make sense, and they don’t, as a potential trade partner. After a decade plus of stability in net with Jonathan Quick, the longtime net minder was traded away after the cheap Pheonix Copley started winning games and Joonas Korpisalo was bought in from the Blue Jackets as reinforcements. Cal Peterson was supposed to be quick’s heir apparent, but he was sent to the AHL to work on his game and traded to Philadelphia in the Provorov deal.
The Kings already extended Copley. With Quick and Pederson gone, as well as Korpisalo being a pending unrestricted free agent, he’s the only Kings goaltender under contract for next year. Even if Copley won games, he posted some of the best stats of his career and shouldn’t be expected to repeat that performance. Hart would fit the Kings need for a goaltender, but it seems most people assumed they would hold onto Korpisalo. Also, if they wanted Hart so bad, why not get him when they were already involved in the three way Provorov trade? Sending away your goalie to try to get another goalie from the same team in a later deal is an odd strategy.
Carter Hart was once looked at as the Flyers franchise goalie. He would be their best net minder since Ron Hextall between the pipes. Now it looks like, more than ever, his days in black and orange are numbered.