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Montreal Canadiens

Should The Canadiens Show Interest In Goaltender Carter Hart?



Canadiens Carter Hart

It’s well known the Montreal Canadiens lack goaltending options throughout the organization.

Beyond the dearth of goaltenders in the prospect pool, they hardly have enough signed goaltenders to cover their NHL and AHL teams.

An injury to Jake Allen, Samuel Montembeault, Cayden Primeau or Jakub Dobes would thrust the team into a difficult situation, which means the team is well aware they need to shore up their goaltending options.

With that in mind, one very interesting option has reportedly hit the market: Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Carter Hart.

The question becomes whether Hart would represent a significant improvement over Montembeault, and if so, what should the team offer the Flyers in exchange for the 2016 second-round pick.

By The Numbers

Hart took the league by storm in his first few seasons, at least relatively speaking.

He produced a .917 and .914 save percentage in his first two seasons, giving hope to the franchise that their long-time goaltending woes had finally been solved.

But as is the case with many young goaltenders, Hart’s numbers started to fluctuate significantly.

Hart finished his third, fourth and fifth seasons in the league with a .877, .905, and .907 save percentage, respectively.

However, we must always remember context is king in hockey. Playing for a struggling franchise is rarely a conducive situation for goaltenders to thrive.

But thanks to an advanced metric, goals saved above average (GSAA) we can get a better idea of how some goaltenders are performing despite how poorly the team in front of them has been playing.

In Hart’s case, he finished the season by saving 15.8 goals above average at 5v5, good for 11th overall in the league.

For reference, Canadiens goaltender Montembeault finished 15th in the league with 13 GSAA.

The difference between the two is minimal, as both finished the year with numbers that would suggest they provided their team with two wins above average, though it should be noted Hart did have a better season than Montembeault in almost every statistical category, including rebound control.

In that sense, Hart does represent an upgrade on Montembeault according to last year’s stats, though not necessarily enough to suggest he’d be a significant upgrade.

The Cost

Hart, 24, is younger than Montembeault, which means he does fit into the Canadiens’ overall rebuild time frame better than his counterpart.

And this is where things get interesting.

Hart certainly has more pedigree than Montembeault. One was heralded as a future starter in the NHL, while the other was treated as an afterthought prior to his emergence this season.

But pedigree should hold little to no value in this situation, particularly when we’re discussing their current form.

It’s also worth noting that goaltenders rarely carry much value on the NHL’s trade market, thus, the Canadiens should probably avoid spending high-end assets to slightly improve their goaltending situation.

And then there’s the matter of salary. Hart is in the last year of a three-year contract that comes with a $3.9 million cap hit. He will be a restricted free agent once his contract expires.

While it may be easy to suggest the team should quickly offer their late first-round pick in exchange for Hart’s services, the current trade market, as well as the relatively minimal difference between his numbers and Montembeault’s, means it could result in an overpay once all the dust has settled.

Yes, the Canadiens should be interested in a player like Carter Hart, but they also must be cautious as navigate the icy waters involved in evaluating NHL goaltenders.

All statistics are 5v5 unless otherwise noted, via MoneyPuck.

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No thanks. The knock on Hart has been his mental toughness. He’d get eaten alive in Montreal. For what Philly would be asking for him, I’ll pass.

Patrick P

Habs are at the start of a rebuild ; common sense dictates not to trade assets for such a small upside.
Draft and develop.


I would not trade a 31st pick for him. Run with Montebeault, Allen and Primeau.
He is going to get expensive if he now costs $3.9 million.

John Stone

true.. but eventually we will need to be paying someone that kinda money on a long term basis in that position.

Pierre B.

In my opinion, the goal saved above expected per 60 is the better metric to compared them. Amongst goalies who played at least 20 games, Montembeault is 13th and Hart, 17th (according to MoneyPuck), thus better.

Albert Vanular

Yes absolutely Habs should explore this possibility. Goaltending is an area of weakness in Habs prospect pool and Hart is still young and has pedigree. Last couple years have not been kind to him but at age 24, he has plenty of time to turn it around and get back to where he was before. Habs should at least see if this might be a buy low scenario. If Flyers are asking too much, they can pass but if the price is right, Hart could be a long term bargain.

Alex Barrette

Every goalie coming out of philly has been better somewhere else. He’s 24 years old and still developing. Fits the age of the core. Would take a chance at him for a 2nd + 3rd round pick . Let Monty and Hart battle it out for the top spot.

John Stone

at 24 he should be almost at peak development.

Motorsuzuki drive by

I would go for it. To me Hart is a great fit for this team. He’s young and has already gone thru his growing pains and come thru them. His last 2 seasons have both been excellent, he’s just been playing on a bad team. Most goalies with pedigree that enter the league early follow a similar path. They find early success, then struggle for a couple years , then even out and get better and better (like Price). To me I wouldn’t worry about an overpay. There aren’t many guys like Hart. I think he’s got a good temperament to play in montreal as he’s already played well in pressure environments (starter for Canada at WJC and starter

john harmsworth

Seems to me like a guy who would benefit from a fresh start. Give him a 3 years deal ant something close to his present salary and work our development magic on him. In three years we are starting to contend and we see what we have.

Ron Barry

“… the difference is minimal,” but the younger, more-accomplished goalie did have the better numbers, right? Hart is an ascending talent – still – and has “elite” written all over him. This is not a knock on Sammy, who may have found his ceiling as a solid 1B option – more than ANYONE expected for a waiver claim. So, ask one question: is Mtl better with a Hart/Montembeault tandem in net? Answer: YES!!! I think Florida’s 2023 first-rounder, Cayden Primeau (who the Habs will probably lose unless Jake Allen is dealt) and a prospect (maybe Kidney or Engstrom, depending on Flyers’ needs) gets the deal done.


If we are getting Hart, we need to trade them Allen, 31st pick and a3rd round pick for Hart and a goalie prospect.

Trade Primeau to western conference.


Primeau is from Philly so they might like the local boy. And I’m not sure Philly have a lot of interest in Allen given his age / salary and recent performance.

John Stone

and then were left with the same problem now.. no goalies.

Last edited 3 months ago by John Stone
John Stone

we should use thay 31st pick for a goalie or a rd

Captain Kirk

Giving up too much imo. Why not draft one or two and continue with Montembault for the next few years


I am not sure if Carter Hart has the best technique but he makes a lot of unbelievable spectacular saves. He is very quick and athletic. I do not know a lot about goalies, but perhaps his technique could be improved.

John Stone

here we go…


There are red flags.
Cost of acquisition
Pending results of the interminable 2018 investigation
Contract status/cost

Is it more of a gamble with him than dreidger?

Could be a homerun…could be a nightmare

Randy Lavoy

Grab Hart now…or he will shine with another team and his price will triple..!!!