Division Realignment Bodes Well for Carter Hart

These are strange times we’re living in. With new rules in place and mandates changing from day-to-day it seems, the NHL is slowly starting to navigate those waters back to getting the 2020-21 season on track. It’s encouraging news considering the minor quabble at the beginning of December. There are still some hurdles left to clear, but it seems the NHL’s owners and NHLPA are working together to get hockey back for all.

The newest development is the apparent division realignment. With travel restrictions in place preventing travel into Canada, the seven Canadian teams are stuck, for lack of a better term, up in Canada. That leaves the other 24 North American teams to create three more divisions. The All-Canadian division is all-but a certainty considering the restrictions in place, and now there’s more clarity on what the other divisions will look like.

Wait a second, that’s definitely not the proposed divisions. Give me a second…

Philadelphia finds themselves in one of, if not the toughest, division in the league if this holds true. Boston just won the President’s Trophy, Washington was tops in the Metropolitan Division last season, and Pittsburgh is a perennial playoff contender. The Rangers have so much young talent that are developing sooner rather than later, and the Islanders well, we know all about the Islanders.

While some of us may grovel over being in such a tough position, there’s one guy who’s chomping at the bit to get on the ice against his new division foe. That man is Carter Hart. Hart has been great against a majority of these opponents. His career is only two years in, but he’s off to a great start. Let’s dive a little deeper into how Hart has performed against these proposed divisional foes.

Boston Bruins

Hart has essentially had his way with the big bad Bruins. Dating back to January of 2019, Hart won four straight against Boston until his loss in the last game of the 2019-20 season. In the round-robin round of the 2020 playoffs, Hart stopped 34 of 35 shots on his way to a win over the number one team in the league. Counting that victory, Hart is 5-1-0 all-time against the Bruins.

During the regular season, Hart owns a 4-1-0 record over Boston. He’s stopped 141 of 155 shots faced in those games, good for a .909 save percentage. His 14 goals allowed lead to his 2.71 goals against average. Of those for wins, two of them came on the road. That’s significant considering Hart’s noted struggles away from home.

Add his one playoff game against Boston to his regular season performances, and Hart has stopped 175 of 190 shots for a .921 save percentage. He’s allowed 15 goals in those six games, accounting for his 2.43 GAA. Lest we forget, his 5-1-0 record against the Bruins as well.

Buffalo Sabres

Hart hasn’t seen the Sabres as much as he’s seen the Bruins. No playoff games between the two, only two regular season contests where Hart was absolutely stellar. He won both outings while stopping 54 of 56 shots for a .964 save percentage and 1.00 GAA.

New Jersey Devils

Carter Hart hasn’t been as great as his numbers may show against the Devils, but his 2-1-0 record speaks for itself. Two of his three games against New Jersey saw his save percentage dip below .900, but his shutout against them on October 9th of 2019 gives his overall numbers a boost. He’s stopped 71of 77 shots against the Devils for a .922 save percentage and a 1.98 GAA. He’s also better than MacKenzie Blackwood, so there’s that.

New York Islanders

Everyone deserves a mulligan, right? The Islanders would be Hart’s mulligan. His regular season stats against New York are pedestrian. He lost both games and recorded a stat line of .833/6.23. He allowed nine goals on 54 shots in just over 86 minutes of play. Not the greatest stat line.

His playoff series against the Islanders showed he was starting to round the corner. He stopped 182 of 201 shots for a .905 save percentage, much better than his .833 save percentage during the regular season. His 2.83 goals against average is leaps and bounds better than his 6.23 during the two regular season games he saw against the Islanders. Those 19 goals against in six playoff games aren’t the greatest, but factor in the overtime periods from that series and his GAA makes much more sense.

Overall, Hart has stopped 227 shots out of 255 against New York, good for a .890 save percentage. He’s allowed 28 goals over that span as well, giving him a goals against average of 3.43. His record is alright, standing at 3-5-0. Alright as in he started at 0-2-0 and now has a few wins under his belt.

New York Rangers

Against the other team from New York, Hart has found a solid level of success. In four games, Carter Hart has a 3-1-0 record against the Rags. He’s stopped 105 of 114 shots for a .921 save percentage. He’s only allowed nine goals in those four games, giving him a 2.25 GAA. Hart does pretty well against the Rangers. It’s good he has a solid foundation of stats under his belt considering the high-quality prospects the Rangers have coming up the pipeline and already on their roster.

Pittsburgh Penguins

The dreaded rival to the west, Hart has been pretty good against Pittsburgh. He’s started two games against the Pens and competed in three. He started lukewarm, but followed that up with a fantastic performance in his second outing against Pittsburgh. Overall, he is 1-1-0 against the Pens in his career. He’s stopped 73 of 78 shots for a .936 save percentage. His five goals allowed in those three outings give him a 2.15 GAA. If Hart can continue putting up those types of numbers against the Flyers biggest rival, bragging rights may return to Philadelphia for a long time.

Washington Capitals

Another division rival, another solid stat line for Carter Hart. Hart has played in three games against Washington, and has progressed from losing the first, losing in a shootout in the second, and finally winning the third meeting. His 1-1-1 record is alright, but his stat line shows some better numbers. Hart has stopped 88 of 95 shots against the Caps, good for a .926 save percentage. He’s allowed seven goals in those three games, giving him a 2.29 GAA. With more battles sure to ensue between Hart and the Caps, it’s encouraging considering how well he has done to this point.

Carter Hart may be young, but he’s showing poise that you don’t see out of most veteran netminders. His trajectory could land him among some of the best to ever man the crease. For now, it’s just nice to enjoy how well he is doing against the teams he sees the most.

Photo Credit – Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire

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