The Everett Silvertips held their exit meetings Saturday beginning about 12 hours after they were eliminated by the Seattle Thunderbirds with a 4-1 loss Friday night at ShoWare Center.
I spoke with several players in addition to general manager Garry Davidson. Head coach Kevin Constantine was swamped with player meetings so I’ll be speaking with him early next week.
We will have plenty of wrap-up coverage in the coming days so this post is just to hit some of the highlights including the biggest news of the day:
Carter Hart told me he's headed to join the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (Philly's AHL affiliate) tomorrow.
— Jesse Geleynse (@JesseGeleynse) April 15, 2017
It’s possible Everett goalie Carter Hart could make his professional debut in the coming days as the Lehigh Valley Phantoms open the AHL playoffs, but he said he had “no idea” what the immediate plan was when he gets to Pennsylvania.
Lehigh Valley lost its starting goaltender Anthony Stolarz for the season Wednesday so it’s possible Hart will be the “designated door opener” or even see the ice. Nevertheless the fact he’s headed to Pennsylvania further indicates how high the Philadelphia Flyers organization is on Hart.
“It’s definitely a great learning experience to go down there and learn from some of the pros and to see what it’s like and just to be there and work hard and listen,” Hart said.
For those wondering, the reason Hart can play in the AHL is because his junior season is over. Ordinarily players can’t play in the minor professional ranks until they are 20.
This isn’t the first time Hart has experienced the professional ranks. He participated in Flyers rookie camp last summer and Flyers main training camp last fall before returning to Everett. He was a second-round pick by Philadelphia in the 2016 NHL draft and was the first goalie taken.
Hart is the reigning CHL and WHL Goaltender of the Year and seems likely to be a repeat in one or both categories this season. He was Everett’s team MVP and a big reason why the Tips shocked the WHL by winning the U.S. Division and earning the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference playoffs.
“I think if you look back at the beginning of the season a lot of people didn’t think we would do as well as we did and we proved a lot of people wrong,” Hart said. “I think a lot of that credit has to go with everyone buying in and getting the most out of everybody every night. I think our coaches did a great job of getting the most out of all of our players night-in and night-out.”
It also seems Hart has a prom invitation waiting for him:
@WHLsilvertips could Carter Hart please go to my prom with me??
— Grace Jeffries (@GraceAJeffries) April 16, 2017
The Phantoms open their best-of-five, first-round playoff series with the Hershey Bears on Friday at home in Allentown, Pa.
– Noah Juulsen said he wasn’t sure and that it was “up in the air” as to whether or not he would join the St. John’s IceCaps, the AHL affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens. It’s worth noting that at the time I talked to him the IceCaps were facing a must-win game Saturday night to make the AHL playoffs. They’ve since won to clinch a playoff berth, so we will follow that situation to see if Juulsen heads to Newfoundland.
— x-St. John's IceCaps (@IceCapsAHL) April 16, 2017
Juulsen has one more year of junior eligibility remaining, but seems almost certain to play in the AHL next season.
– Eetu Tuulola, Everett’s other NHL-drafted player likely will not be joining the Stockton Heat, the AHL affiliate of the Calgary Flames. Tuulola suffered a broken right hand this week, but I only found out Saturday because he played through the injury in Friday’s game. Davidson said Tuulola will see a specialist Tuesday to determine if surgery is necessary.
For the latest Silvertips news follow Jesse Geleynse on Twitter.