He may be smaller than some that play at his position, but Everett Silvertips’ goaltender Carter Hart may be earning the attention of NHL clubs at this weekend’s Combine.
At six-foot-one and 180 pounds, Hart’s one of the smaller all-around goalies in this year’s draft. Evan Fitzpatrick – who topped Hart in the final North American Central Scouting rankings – is an inch taller and over twenty pounds heavier. Filip Gustavsson is a little taller than Hart and about five pounds heavier.
But for the 17-year-old Hart, size isn’t going to hold him back.
Having a ‘Harty’ Combine
After most of the top 114 prospects took to the fitness floor, Hart found himself atop the VO2 max test – a test is used to measure the maximum amount of oxygen that can be removed from circulating blood and used by the working tissues.
While he didn’t finish in the top 10 in the agility, he finished tied for 15th in the anaerobic fitness at peak power output at 17.2 watts per kilogram (3.9 behind the leader Alexander Nylander).
He was tied for the 14th longest wingspan at 77 inches (0.75 inches off of fellow draft-eligible goalie Fitzpatrick). He was also tied for third in consecutive pull-ups (12) and finished 16th in the standing long-jump (109.8).
While some might argue that numbers at the Combine don’t matter – offering Sam Bennett (and his pull-ups) as the sacrificial example – the fact of the matter is that team scouts and front office management are here to see what exactly these young men can do when put to the test at a fitness level.
Carter Hart: Not Playing Favourites
Over the week, Hart sat down with 22 teams for the interview process. For the most part – according to him – they went fairly well. While Hart did mention he was always a fan of the Montreal Canadiens growing up, he also said that no matter where he went in the draft or ended up, it would be a dream come true.
“I was a Patrick Roy fan when I was young and turned into a Carey Price fan,” said Hart following his fitness testing. “But for me, it doesn’t matter when I go, I just want to go [in the draft].”
And as a Habs’ fan growing up, what would it be like playing for the rival Leafs?
“I wouldn’t have any words to describe it,” he said. “To be able to be drafted to that organization – it’s a world-class organization. That would be incredible. But that’s pretty much with all the teams in the league.”
Hart’s coming off a great season as the Silvertips’ starter finishing with a 2.14 goals against average and .918 save percentage in 63 regular season games. While they weren’t able to get it done in the WHL playoffs, Hart continued to impress with a 2.39 average and a .929 save percentage – taking home the honours of being named the CHL’s top goaltender.
While goaltenders do tend to slide down the list in NHL drafts, Hart’s poise and potential should make him tempting to a number of teams – including the Leafs – in the late second or early third round.
Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team as well as being part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.