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If Carter Hart is Out for a While, What’s Next for Flyers?

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Carter Hart, Philadelphia Flyers

With Carter Hart and his strong play, the Philadelphia Flyers still had the sixth-worst record in the NHL.

Without him, well, they might get into the Connor Bedard Sweepstakes.

The team that wins the lottery is expected to take Bedard, a center regarded as a generational player, with the No. 1 pick in the 2023 draft.

The Flyers have 29 points, while Chicago is last in the NHL with 20 points.

Hart collided with Carolina’s Seth Jarvis late in the second period Friday, and he may have suffered a concussion as their helmets struck each other. Flyers defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen inadvertently pushed Jarvis into Hart as the Hurricanes were scoring a goal in their 6-5 victory.

GM Chuck Fletcher said there won’t be an update on Hart until the Flyers return to practice Tuesday afternoon in Voorhees. Officially, they list him with an upper-body injury.

If Hart is sidelined, rookies Felix Sandstrom and Samuel Ersson would handle the goaltending duties.

Both have promise, but …

Sandstrom, 25, has a 1-6-1 record, along with a 3.37 GAA and .888 save percentage this season, and he didn’t make the last road trip because of an illness.

Ersson, 23, made his NHL debut in Friday’s 6-5 loss in Carolina. He stopped 25 of 30 shots, and didn’t get much defensive support.

Sandstrom was selected in the third round (70th overall) of the 2015 draft, while Ersson was chosen in the fifth round (No. 143 overall) in 2018.

Both have promise, but would obviously be a major downgrade from Hart, who is 10-11-6 with a 2.89 GAA and .911 save percentage.

There was a good chance 6-foot-7 Ivan Fedotov would have been the Philadelphia Flyers’ backup this season, but he was ordered to serve in Russia’s Navy and not permitted to come to North America. He was brilliant in the Olympics, leading Russia to a silver medal.

PK is offensive-minded

The Philadelphia Flyers scored a pair of shorthanded goals Friday, giving them six for the season, which is tied for the NHL lead.

The Flyers haven’t been as dangerous on the PK since Mike Richards was in  his prime.

Travis Konecny, who is playing on the penalty kill this season for the first time in his career, and Scott Laughton scored the shorties Friday. They also had shorthanded assists, thus becoming the 18th and 19th players in franchise history to have two or more shorthanded points in a game. The last player to do it? Simon Gagne in a 2008 game in Pittsburgh.

Laughton tops the NHL with five shorthanded goals.

Breakaways

Bedard, who turns 18 in July, has 27 goals and 64 points in 28 games in the Western Hockey League this season. … Konecny is on a three-game, multi-point streak for the second time in his career; he has 11 goals in his last 18 games. … Morgan Frost has a career-best four-game point streak (three goals, assists). … The Flyers return to action Thursday in San Jose (28 points, one behind the Flyers); the road trip also takes them to Los Angeles (44 points) next Saturday and Anaheim (22 points) on Jan. 2. … The Phantoms are 13-11-entering their holiday break as they beat host Springfield, 2-1, on Friday. Artem Anisimov scored his 10th goal in 12 games to spark Lehigh Valley.

PHN: Flyers prospects Cutter Gauthier, Brian Zanetti Ready for World Juniors; How to Watch

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