Flyers news

Flyers part ways with Carter Hart, who becomes unrestricted free agent

The 25-year-old goaltender awaits trial in the Hockey Canada sexual assault case

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Carter Hart's career with the Flyers came to an end Sunday.

A restricted free agent amid a sexual assault case, the 25-year-old goaltender did not receive a qualifying offer from the Flyers. As a result, Hart became an unrestricted free agent.

In early February, London, Ontario police announced it had charged Hart and four other players from the 2018 Canadian world junior team with sexual assault, stemming from a June 2018 incident.

Hart's legal representation stated in late January that "he is innocent and will provide a full response to this false allegation in the proper forum, a court of law."

The goalie had been away from the Flyers since Jan. 23, when he requested and was granted an indefinite leave of absence.

The possibility of Hart returning to the ice at any point in the 2024-25 season was looking more and more unlikely. The Hockey Canada sexual assault case will be back in criminal assignment court Aug. 13, the same day Hart turns 26 years old, and no trial start date has been set.

With his three-year, $11.937 million contract expiring, Hart was a restricted free agent this offseason. The Flyers could have retained his NHL rights by issuing him a qualifying offer but they chose against it, cutting ties with the 2016 second-round draft pick who had been deemed their franchise goalie.

The club plans to go into September training camp with Samuel Ersson and Ivan Fedotov forming their goaltending tandem.

Restricted free agents Egor Zamula and Bobby Brink received qualifying offers, essentially kicking off the negotiation process for their new contracts.

The Flyers did not issue offers to prospects Mason Millman and Will Zmolek, making them unrestricted free agents along with Hart.

Hart's career in Philadelphia started with great promise. He made his NHL debut at 20 years old and later won eight straight games, tying the NHL record for most consecutive victories by a goalie before his 21st birthday.

The following year, he helped lead the Flyers to the 2020 bubbled playoffs, going 24-13-3 with a 2.42 goals-against average and .914 save percentage during the regular season. In the postseason, Hart went 9-5-0 with a 2.23 goals-against average and .926 save percentage, giving him the best GAA by a Flyers goalie with five or more starts in one playoff run since Roman Cechmanek in 2003 (2.14 GAA in 13 starts).

In 2023-24, Hart started his fifth straight season opener for the Flyers. It turned out to be his last one with the club.

Free agency opens Monday at noon ET. Outside of inexpensive depth pieces, the Flyers are unlikely to be real active because of how tight they are on the salary cap.

"We don't expect to do much on free agency day," general manager Danny Briere said last week. "The reality is, we have a lot of dead money going into Year 2 of my tenure, but that was the plan also. We acquired assets to help us for the future like picks. So, this summer is going to be tough. Next summer should ease up a little bit, but we're still going to be in a little bit of a crunch."

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