Let’s start with Hart. He’s top of mind when it comes to goalie prospects both for the Flyers and even around the league. He’s just 18 years old, but he already has his sights set on a role in the NHL.
The Flyers drafted Carter Hart with the 48th pick in last year’s draft and he has been penciled in as the goaltender of the future ever since. Hart won the CHL Goaltender of the Year award in 2015-16 and followed that up with an even better year in 2016-17, earning him WHL Goaltender of the Year honors for the second consecutive season.
The goalie prospect spoke to the media on Friday morning about his thought process in Development Camp as well as his goals for the future.
Hart knows that first and foremost this camp is about, well, developing.
“Right now I’m just here to learn as much as I can… I’m taking things as it is. You can’t really look too far ahead in the future. You just have to stay in the moment right now,” Hart said.
Hart is young for his draft class at just 18 years old (turning 19 in August), but he seemingly doesn’t have much left to prove at the junior level. He was in orange pads and a white mask, rather than his green Everett Silvertips gear for workouts on Friday, but that was just to break-in his Phantoms pads ordered in April.
He looks like he’ll be NHL ready in a few seasons, but Hart has his sights set high this season.
“Going into next year I don’t know whats going to happen but my goal is to make the team next year here in the fall.”
It would be a very rare occurrence, which Hart is well aware of.
“Obviously it doesn’t happen often…but it’s something that I really want and something that I’m working for and coming here to try to make the team in the fall.”
Both Hart’s play and numbers have improved in each of the last three seasons. In 2014-15 he had a 2.29 GAA and .915 SV%, in 2015-16 he had a 2.14 GAA and .918 SV% and last season he had a 1.99 GAA and .927 SV%.
There’s not much left to prove for Hart at the junior level given those numbers, but goalies are a different breed of prospects. Hart has been compared to Carey Price at times, and it would be great if Hart came even close to Price’s talent level. Not even Price started in the NHL until he was 20 years old, so maybe next season could be a realistic goal for Hart. However, with two goalies under contract for the next two seasons it seems like Hart could be handed the reigns in 2019.
Hart has been impressive throughout the past few seasons and in Development Camp. It’s not too farfetched to think he’ll be a great goalie, and it’s good to see that he has his sights set high moving forward.
Now, onto Sandstrom.
Sandstrom is a year and a half older than Hart, and has more experience as well as a more refined game thanks to playing professionally in Sweden for the past three seasons. Hart gets a lot of the attention between the pipes, but Sandstrom is right there with him.
While Hart has his sights set on potentially making the team this season, however unlikely that may be, Sandstrom is taking the slow(er) and steady approach.
Sandstrom has been the backup for Brynas IF in the SHL for the past two seasons, and he will be staying in Sweden for one more year with a chance to become the starter.
“I’m in a good position in Sweden. I get to play a lot and I really like my goalie coach there too. I’m in a good position at home and there’s no reason to rush. I think I need and want one more year to develop more and be even more ready to come over [to North America],” Sandstrom said.
With Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth both on two-year contracts, and Anthony Stolarz and Alex Lyon in the AHL for another year, it seems likely that both Hart and Sandstrom could join the Phantoms for the 2018-19 season and split time there.
Hart and Sandstrom both have their sights set high during Development Camp, as they should. They could be the answer for the Flyers between the pipes in just a few short season.
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