Carter Hart, widely regarded as the Flyers’ goalie of the future, is a cerebral sort.
Which is why he was talking about something he learned at the Flyers’ latest development camp and how it will help him improve his reactions on rebounds.
“I think it’ll have a positive impact,” he said after the camp ended Monday in Voorhees. “For it to become instinctual and for it to become normal to my game, I just have to keep working on it this summer. Every development camp I’ve been here, there’s been one or two things I’ve taken from camp and I’ve worked on it through the summer — and it’s become a part of my game in the season.”
One of the things Hart discovered is he can get better when there’s a wild scramble in front of the net and he is “spread out trying to get to a puck on a rebound. Instead of just kicking your leg out and hoping it hits you, there’s a little more structure you have to add to it to have a better chance to stop it.”
Carter picked up the technique working with the Flyers’ goaltender coaches at development camp and he will add it to his repertoire in his summer workouts.
The Flyers moved up their development camp this year to give their prospects more time to work on things they were taught and to get stronger in the summer. In another twist, they had their Trial on the Isle, which takes place in Stone Harbor, N.J., and includes intense workouts with the Navy Seals, at the start of camp instead of at the end.
“It was nice that we did that right at the beginning,” Hart said. “Just got it out of the way and got to worry about skating and playing the rest of the time.”
The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Hart, who turns 20 next month, said he wants to gain some weight and get stronger before training camp in September.
“I’m kind of a skinny guy, but at the same time, I have to find that balance in flexibility and mobility and try and keep that,” he said. “Figure out what needs to be, and I think putting on a couple pounds this summer would be nice. My goal is to put on a couple more pounds of muscle. … I want to put on weight that will help me.”
While Hart is on track to be with the Flyers in 2019-20, if not sooner, Felix Sandstrom is another young goalie who is making strides. Sandstrom gets overshadowed by Hart, but he was impressive at development camp and was the winning goalie in the final game of a round-robin, three-on-three tourney.
Sandstrom, 21, had a pedestrian save percentage near .900 for three teams in Sweden last season, a year in which he missed two months because of a stomach ailment. He will play one more season in Sweden before coming to North America.
“It’s an important year for him; he knows it,” general manager Ron Hextall said. “You can kind of see how dialed in he was here. … We’re very high on Felix. He’s a real competitor, a really hard worker. He’s a great teammate and a great kid.”
Last year’s disappointing season has made the 6-2, 192-pound Sandstrom “a hungry hockey player right now,” Hextall said. “… I think he’s going to have a bang-up year.”
Hextall on the Phantoms’ Mikhail Vorobyev, a 6-2, 207-pound center who is knocking on the NHL door: “He’s a very intelligent player and he can play in all situations. He’s got good size. He’s made strides, and whether he’s ready this year or next year, that’s certainly up to him. He’s going to have to come in and prove it.” … Hextall was asked who was further along in their development, Vorobyev or Mike Vecchione. “That’s a hard question. …Those are the type of things that play out in September,” he said. … According to Hextall, center German Rubtsov has the same defensive mentality that Sean Couturier had at a young age but needs to “get a little more push” on the offensive end. … There is a chance the Flyers will carry three goalies with the Phantoms this season, Hextall said.