Flyers Goalie Prospect Carter Hart on Development: ‘Trust the Process'

ALLENTOWN, Pa. -- "You gotta trust the process."

Flashbacks to Sam Hinkie? A line from Joel Embiid's Twitter feed?

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How about a direct quote from Carter Hart.

The Flyers' 18-year-old goaltending prospect spoke to the media extensively Wednesday after joining the Phantoms on Monday in preparations for their first-round playoff series against Hershey (see story)

"I think I got the sense that I'm just here to experience this area," Hart said. "I've never been to Lehigh Valley. It's nice to see the building, get to know the players, get to know the coaching staff, take it all in and learn from the pros."

Hart joins the Phantoms after his major junior team Everett Silvertips were bounced in the second round of the WHL playoffs. In three seasons in the Canadian Hockey League, Hart has compiled an impressive résumé -- an 85-40-12 record with 19 shutouts, a 2.13 goals-against average and .921 save percentage. He was named CHL Goaltender of the Year in 2016 and was a member of Team Canada's silver medal-winning team at the 2017 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships.

"Great things take time," Hart said. "It's a long process. You just have to stick to the grind every day and just worry about getting better. I know that's one of the big things Philly believes in, and just worry about getting better every day."

Unless the Phantoms enter crisis mode, Hart doesn't expect to play in the AHL postseason, but he's already grabbed the attention of the team's starter Alex Lyon.

"He's a great guy," Lyon said. "Carter is the same height (6-foot-1) as I am, and he's so physically gifted. I can learn so much from him."

"One of the things you can definitely tell that's in his game is structure," Phantoms head coach Scott Gordon said. "Clearly the structure is in Carter's game, where more times than not the puck will hit him and he'll have the appropriate response after the save is made to make the next save, and that will continue to be a strength of his."

Along with talent, there's a maturity that instantly comes across when talking with the teenager from Sherwood Park, Alberta. He has a familiarity with the Flyers' organization and has studied the trajectories of other great netminders in the NHL.

"One of my favorite goalies is Carey Price and I also like Braden Holtby, as well, and they've both taken different routes to the NHL," Hart said. "Both are some of the great goalies in the league. Holtby came in a little later and Price was thrown in as a 20-year-old. … The Flyers have had a lot of good prospects the past few years. To see a couple of guys like (Travis) Konecny and (Ivan) Provorov jump in as 19-year-olds is something pretty special. You don't see too many guys doing that. It shows how much they value their young prospects and how much they care about their development."

Obviously, the Flyers thought enough of Hart to make him the first goaltender selected in the 2016 NHL draft, and during the team's development camp, general manager Ron Hextall couldn't help but praise his second-round pick.

"Quite honestly, it's almost hard for me to relay that a 17-year-old understands what he's got to do to become a pro and hopefully an NHL goalie one day," Hextall said. "Typically, kids are 20, 21, 22 before they realize, 'You know what? I gotta get better.' He's impressive."

Since Hart won't turn 19 until August, he has just two options for next season -- return to his WHL team for a fourth year or join the Flyers as a rookie much like Provorov and Konecny did. Hart said he's fine either way because he's come to accept the Philly way.

Just trust the process.

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