Carter Hart has elevated the Philadelphia Flyers to new levels during the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The kid just has it. No matter how you slice it, Hart has delivered more times than a DoorDash (not a sponsor) driver and continues to show why he's becoming one of the best goaltenders in the NHL when the lights shine the brightest. And let's make this clear, Carter Hart is the most important athlete in Philadelphia.
In six career postseason starts, Hart is 5-1, has only allowed SEVEN goals to get passed him (equating to a 1.24 GAA), a .958 save percentage, and has now logged back to back shutouts against Montreal. With his shutout on Tuesday afternoon, Hart became the second-youngest goaltender in NHL history to record consecutive shutouts in the postseason. Let that sink in, along with the fact that he just turned 22.
When compiling a list of the "most important" athletes in Philadelphia, the obvious names get mentioned without hesitation: Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto, and Aaron Nola for the Phillies, Carson Wentz, Fletcher Cox, Zach Ertz, and Lane Johnson for the Eagles, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons for the Sixers. It's becoming more and more clear that Hart is by far the most important player on the ice for the Flyers and he's more important than any of the players named above to their respective teams.
Each of those teams still find ways to succeed when one of those players are not on the field or court for a game. Remove Hart from the equation for the Flyers and we are living in a realm commonly known as hell. While Brian Elliott is a fantastic backup goalie and has been playing well for the Orange and Black, there's no way anyone could think Elliott would be carrying this team on the backend like Hart has, even dating back to the Round Robin games.
Hart and the Flyers are now one win away from clinching an opening round series win over the Canadiens and the discussion about this team has been that they have... HART. If this team didn't have this sensation in net, who really knows what this series looks like, especially since the Fly Guys have been horrendous on the power play and have been outscored in the series, yet lead it 3-1.
Sports with goalies have to build from the backend up in order to have longterm success. Offensive players can be drafted, traded for, or signed in free agency. Building a defense and an anchor in net is the difficult part. The Flyers have that anchor now and fans are witnessing the blossoming of an elite goaltender in the NHL right in our backyard. So the next time someone asks who the most important athlete in our city is, you better believe it's #79 on the ice, Carter Hart.