Welcome to a weekly feature where we have some fun with underlying numbers. We highlight a couple of trends, then dig beneath the surface to get a better sense of what these trends ultimately mean, what's causing them and how likely it is that they'll continue. Think of these analyses as bite-sized deep dives.
In the recent past, we've used this space to look at various things like why defensemen should shoot less, the best lines in hockey, and the effects of the Barry Trotz defensive system. This week, we're going to focus on how the unprecedented run Carter Hart is on saved the Flyers' season — and what that means looking forward — as well as a dark-horse candidate for the hypothetical Most Improved Player Award. Any data referenced is mined from either Corsica or Natural Stat Trick.
The Hart and soul of the Flyers
The Philadelphia Flyers are many different things to many different people, but one thing that we can all agree on is that no one will ever accuse them of being boring. Over the years they've been a franchise that's been an endless source of entertainment. What's particularly amazing is that their end results in recent seasons have been wholly mediocre, but the path they've taken to get there has been a dizzying roller-coaster ride worth the full price of admission.
They've somehow managed to check off boxes on both ends of the spectrum, fittingly becoming the first team to ever make the playoffs after losing 10 straight games just one year after becoming the first team ever to miss the playoffs after winning 10 straight games. If there's some sort of record out there, good or bad, that no one has ever accomplished, rest assured that the Flyers will eventually find a way to stumble into achieving it.