(Podcast) 2016 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game: Silvertips’ Hart carries strong second half of 2014-15 season into draft year

By Glen Erickson
Carter Hart - Everett Silvertips

Photo: Everett Silvertips goaltender and 2016 prospect Carter Hart’s 27 wins is the most for any WHL goaltender so far in the 2015-16 campaign (courtesy of Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)

 

 

When Carter Hart basically took over as the number one goaltender with the Everett Silvertips midway through last season, the unflappable keeper was only 16 years old. While he led the Silvertips into the post-season, where Everett fell to the Portland Winterhawks in the second round.

This season, the group is looking to improve on that performance with the defending league champion Kelowna Rockets appearing to be ready for another deep playoff run.

Under the tutelage of former NHL coach Kevin Constantine, the Silvertips are always viewed as a sound defensive team. There is offensive skill on the roster this season, but the commitment to keeping pucks out of their own goal is perhaps made easier due to Hart’s development.

Poised and confident, Hart is carrying the load this season, having appeared in 43 of the Silvertips 46 games so far and compiling a 27-13-1-2 record with a 1.93 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage. Hart has posted six shutouts. Everett has allowed 99 goals this season, far ahead of the next best team in this category, the Victoria Royals with 119 goals against. He leads the league in wins, shutouts and minutes played with 2,548.

Hart credits the coaching staff, including assistant coach Mitch Love, and former Silvertips goaltender Austin Lotz with playing varied roles in his rise to prominence. He feels he has benefited in a big way from the experience of residing with 20-year-old Remi Laurencelle, a four-year WHL veteran who leads the Silvertips in scoring.

Growing up in the Edmonton area, Hart was a teammate of Sam Steel (Regina Pats) and often faced Tyler Benson (Vancouver Giants) during minor hockey battles. He often found himself opposing another prominent WHL goaltender in those days, Stuart Skinner of the league-leading Lethbridge Hurricanes.

At 6’1 and 177 pounds, Hart appears slender in civilian clothes yet his positional play between the pipes evokes the presence of a much larger goaltender. He works with a sports psychologist, John Stevenson, who also mentors Brayden Holtby of the Washington Capitals. Hart, like Holtby, wears number 70.

Hart has proven that every other WHL team at some point may have swung and missed at the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft. Everett selected Hart in the ninth round, 158th overall. He was the 12th goaltender chosen. In fact, it was Skinner who was the first goalie selected, in the first round at 17th overall.

Hart is the number one-ranked North American goaltender in the NHL Central Scouting midterm rankings. Central Scouting personnel describe Hart as follows: “Very poised, patient and calm in the net; doesn’t get rattled. He displays a focused and consistent technique with positioning and crease management. He stays square and plays out to the top of the crease, a style that can make saves look easy. He has strong lateral movements while keeping his body controlled. Very good at reading and reacting to plays. Excellent butterfly coverage and seals the ice well with his pads. He keeps his body upright to protect the upper corners. Good glove hand and very good rebound control to minimize secondary chances.”

Hockey’s Future spoke with Hart at the 2016 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, with that conversation captured below in this HF podcast.

Follow Glen Erickson on Twitter via @glenerickson51