For the second time in three seasons, Carter Hart has won the Vaughn Goaltender of the Year award. Hart was also a finalist for the CHL Player of the Year award; that award went to Alex Barre-Boulet of the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada in the QMJHL and Tampa Bay Lightning prospect.
Carter Hart is the first goalie in the history of the award to win it twice. He likely should have won it three times in a row; the award winner last year, Michael McNiven, had a worse goals against average, save percentage and less shutouts. In fact, the only category in which McNiven trumped Hart was wins (41 for McNiven vs. 32 for Hart). I obviously have no inside information on the matter, but I assume this was a case of the CHL not wanting to give an award to someone for a second time, particularly when it had never been done before. This year, Hart left them no choice. He blew away the competition and can now add this award to his trophy case for the year that includes WHL Goalie of the Year (he is the first to win this award three times), WHL Player of the Year and a WJC gold medal for Canada.
Hart put together an astounding major junior career, and in some respects it has even been unprecedented. As he leaves the WHL behind, Hart will look to carry that success into his professional career starting next season. Here’s to hoping the 2nd round pick from the 2016 draft can join the growing young core of the Philadelphia Flyers in the very near future.