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Bailey: Crazy KHL Rumor On Flyers’ Carter Hart Doesn’t Pass Smell Test

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Flyers goalie Carter Hart was charged with sexual assault on Jan. 30; the charge has not been proven in court. (Photo: AP)

According to a rumor started by Russian news outlet MatchTV, KHL club Ak Bars Kazan is prepared to make a contract offer to Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Carter Hart.

Hart, 25, has been away from the Flyers since Jan. 23, taking a personal leave of absence. He was officially charged with one count of sexual assault on Jan. 30; the charges have not been proven in court and Hart awaits a court date to face the felony count.

Hart’s contract with the Flyers is set to expire on July 1, though he will be a restricted free agent, which would allow the Flyers to make a qualifying order to retain his rights.

The unsubstantiated rumor burning up social media is this:

If Hart does not return to Philadelphia, the Flyers goalie will have at least one suitor to continue his professional career in Russia. Pavel Lysenkov wrote on Monday that Ak Bars are letting incumbent starter Timur Bilyalov walk and that they are ready to make an offer to Hart.

Bilyalov is reportedly set to move to Avangard Omsk as a result.

Lysenkov also noted, loosely translated to English, that, “All five [Hockey Canada players] are likely to continue their careers in Russia, because they will not even be taken to the European leagues. . . The main point now is — hockey players must obtain judicial permission that they can leave North America.”

Asking a Canadian court to grant permission for a player facing a serious charge to leave the country for a nation on which Canada has imposed 153 sanctions for the invasion of Ukraine makes the prospect of Hart playing in Russia before his trial wildly unrealistic.

This report has not been public for very long, and neither Hart, his representation, nor his legal representation have commented on the matter. Hart is still under contract with the Flyers until July and the Flyers are currently receiving cap relief from the NHL as a result.

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