If your favorite team is in need of goaltending help this offseason, relying on free agency to fix the situation is a dicey prospect.
The sketchiness of this summer's free-agent goalie class is so tough that the trade market should be ripe for acquiring the potential No. 1 netminder to help your team get to the playoffs or win the Stanley Cup.
We've talked about some others who could be traded this offseason (like Connor Hellebuyck) but there's one young goalie who could be had that would perk up a lot of ears around the league.
Carter Hart of the Philadelphia Flyers is coming off a solid season with a rather poor team in front of him. His .907 save percentage may not stick out as all that impressive (.904 was league average in 2022-2023), but he was a darling in the fancy stats like goals saved above expected (15.8 at 5-on-5; 11th-best among goalies with 30 or more games via MoneyPuck).
Hart will be 25 years old when the 2023-2024 season starts, which means he's entering his prime years and going into the final year of his three-year, nearly $12 million extension and will be a restricted free agent when it ends.
That setup makes him attractive to acquire for a couple of key reasons, and the Flyers going into an actual rebuild makes having him aboard a bit more difficult for both the team and the player.
We're going to look at six teams that could make for a viable new home for Hart. All six have goaltending questions heading into the new season, ones he might be able to address with swiftness.
How wild would new Flyers GM Danny Brière get if he traded Carter Hart?
Would trading him to Hart's hometown Edmonton Oilers for Jack Campbell and Edmonton's 2024 first-round pick (and more) be too wild to even suggest here on the internet? Well, probably, yeah, but let's talk it through.
If one season was all the proof the Oilers wanted regarding their investment into Campbell as their No. 1 goalie, they found out they invested unwisely.
The 31-year-old had a difficult go in his first season with the Oilers, and rookie Stuart Skinner overtook him for the starting job and led the team into and through the playoffs.
Would Philadelphia take on a contract like Campbell's that has four years remaining with a $5 million cap hit? On the face of it, absolutely not.
Attaching the Flyers' No. 1 pick in 2024 (since they traded their 2023 first to Nashville for Mattias Ekholm) makes that a lot more palatable. Is that something Edmonton would want to do? Probably not, but if it believes a tandem of Skinner and Hart can get the franchise a Stanley Cup, then yes, absolutely.
Yes, Skinner is the incumbent No. 1, but goalie performance can be temperamental year to year and rookie goalies don't always lock it down in Year 2.
Acquiring Hart to join Skinner provides the safeguards a Stanley Cup contender wants. Losing Campbell's cap hit helps out a fair bit as well to get the Oilers the kind of depth needed across the board to win it all.