Folks, we are HARD into the dog days of an already dead season. There is very little reason to watch this team and the Flyers are doing very little to provide us with any semblance of hope.
That said, if you are searching for a thread, a scintilla, an iota, a neutrino of hope, look no further than the crease because Carter Hart is a franchise goalie, and should be the keystone building block for the the Keystone State’s most beloved hockey team. Most of the fanbase already knows this, however there is a non-zero number of people who think that Hart is not as good as he is and would even trade him, which some might say is certifiably insane!
So, before we get into the reasons why Hart’s mechanics and ability make him the franchise goalie that we have literally been trying to find for 20+ years, let’s be clear about what I am not saying.
I am not suggesting that Hart will be a perennial Vezina Trophy candidate. I am not saying that he will be a top-5 goalie year in and year out. Nor am I saying that he is not susceptible to giving up a soft goal here and there just like this one:
What I am saying is that Carter Hart’s technique and skill, specifically his head tracking ability, makes him a good enough goalie to win games on his own and should be the undisputed starter (Hart) for the Flyers for the foreseeable future.
So, what do I mean by “head tracking?” We hear analysts and announcers say something like “goalie X did a good job of tracking the puck.” Generally, what they’re referring to is that the goalie did a good job of keeping their eyes on the puck which is not inaccurate, but nor does it fully describe what is going on. By describing what goalies do as just “tracking the puck” is like describing Michael Jackson’s dance moves as a guy who is simply “moving his feat.”
Head tracking, is a biomechanical skill that works like this:
Big woop! So your head can dictate the balance and movement of the rest of your body. How does this equate to Carter Hart being our only beacon of hope?
Carter Hart’s head tracking ability is better than most other goalies so much so that he is regularly able to use the technique to move back and forth laterally to better manage broken defensive plays. More specifically, since the Flyers have 3.5 NHL defenseman, Hart’s head tracking ability cleans up a lot of the mistakes that the Flyers defense continually make:
Again, head tracking is a goaltending technique that allows goalie to more efficiently move from side-to-side. The worse your team is defensively, the more your goalie will need to make these movements. In Carter Hart’s case, he needs to use his head to routinely make post-to-post saves that seem miraculous, but they are in fact the result of his superior goaltender mechanics:
Hopefully, whatever nagging injury that Hart is currently dealing with is nothing serious. Quite frankly, the season is already over so there is no need for him to rush back. Whenever he does come back, I don’t see the Flyers defense improving anytime time soon which means that they will continue to give up cross-ice scoring chances that Hart will have to continue to use his head tracking skills for the Flyers to even pretend to be competitive.
As long as Hart’s head is in good shape on the inside and the outside, goaltending is at least one position we should not have to worry about.
All of the other positions, the coaching, the management, the prospect pool, etc., those are the only things we have to worry about.
Since I’m a goaltending nerd and hopefully you have a better understanding of how goaltending works, we have to watch this save by Andrei Vasilevsky because this save, in terms of head tracking, it makes me swoon, it is art, it is quintessence: