The Silvertips’ Carter Hart (left) defends the crease against Saskatoon’s Josh Paterson in the second period of a game Dec. 2, 2017, at Xfinity Arena in Everett. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

The Silvertips’ Carter Hart (left) defends the crease against Saskatoon’s Josh Paterson in the second period of a game Dec. 2, 2017, at Xfinity Arena in Everett. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Patterson: Will the Silvertips trade star goalie Hart?

The team says not likely, but it’s not unheard of for WHL teams to deal star players in their final seasons.

EVERETT — After Carter Hart shut out the Spokane Chiefs 3-0 on Friday night at Xfinity Arena — his unfathomable fifth shutout in 16 appearances this season —the Everett Silvertips’ star goaltender didn’t engage in any extra-demonstrative celebrations with his teammates. Nor did he direct any wistful gazes around the arena to soak in the atmosphere of the adoring crowd. The only thing he showed any emotion about was neglecting to perform his customary post-win leaping hip bump with roommate Riley Sutter.

It sure didn’t seem like the reaction of someone who’d just played his final game in the building that’s been his home for three-and-a-half years.

Hart may be the WHL’s most coveted asset among teams that style themselves as championship contenders, and his name is the first mentioned when trade rumors are discussed. But even though Hart would warrant a king’s ransom in a deal, the Silvertips say he’s not for sale.

“Teams started inquiring months ago, and that’s continued,” Everett general manager Garry Davidson said prior to Friday’s game. “We were keeping an open mind on it and said we weren’t sure we were going to do it, and I’ll be honest, right now I’m telling teams that I don’t see us moving him.”

Hart is well on his way to being the greatest goaltender in WHL history. He’s already a two-time winner of the Del Wilson Trophy as the WHL’s Goaltender of the Year, and he could become the league’s first ever three-time winner as this season he’s somehow elevated his play to yet another level. His 1.34 goals against average through Friday would shatter Kelly Guard’s single-season record of 1.56, while his .960 save percentage was 23 percentage points better than anyone has posted the past 20 years. Those are video-game numbers — except no video game, even with the goalie’s attributes all pumped up to 99, would ever spit out those kind of stats.

“Oh yeah, and then some,” Everett coach Dennis Williams answered when asked if Hart has been as good as his numbers. “It’s hard to describe, but he’s in such a zone.

“My old goalies may not like me saying this, but no I haven’t (seen a junior goalie as good as Hart).”

Think a team like Moose Jaw, which leads the league in points but has a lone question mark in goal, wouldn’t pay a pretty penny for Hart’s services? Or a team like Regina, which is hosting the Memorial Cup but struggling around .500, wouldn’t see Hart as the one player who could potentially even the scales with the CHL’s elite teams?

Hart leaves to join Canada’s training camp for the 2018 World Junior Hockey Championships at the end of the weekend, and he isn’t expected back until after the WHL’s Jan. 10 trade deadline. Therefore, if Hart is traded — as has been the speculation all season long — then Friday’s win against the Chiefs would be his last game at Xfinity Arena in a Tips jersey.

The windfall of top prospects and high draft picks Everett could receive in exchange for Hart, who as a 19-year-old signed by the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers will not be back in the league next season, could potentially set the franchise up for years. No one considered Everett a contender for anything this season, so it was always assumed the Tips would allow contenders to bid the price up and take the best offer.

But Everett’s recent run of form, having won seven straight through Friday on the back of Hart’s goaltending to improve to 17-12-1-1 and move into second place in the U.S. Division, has Davidson thinking more about the present than the future.

“We feel right now we’re a dangerous team and we can play with most teams most nights, and Carter can be the difference many nights,” Davidson said.

“I shouldn’t say never (about trading Hart), because things can change,” Davidson added. “But right now our plan is to go forward and try to add a few pieces here and see what we can do as a group.”

Davidson also said he talked to Hart about the situation, and that Hart expressed his desire to stay with the organization that drafted him in 2013, gave him his WHL debut as a 15-year-old, and cultivated his development into arguably the best goaltending prospect in the world. Hart echoed that sentiment following Friday’s sensational performance against Spokane, a game in which goaltending was the sole determining factor in the outcome.

“I love playing here,” Hart said when asked if he’s paid attention to trade speculation. “To be honest, I don’t really see myself playing anywhere else. This is my home away from home. We have a great group of guys this year who I don’t want to leave. I have a great billet in Parker Fowlds and a great roommate in Riley Sutter. It’s a second home for me and I don’t really see myself playing anywhere else.”

So apparently a trade that seemed inevitable seven weeks ago when Everett was 4-9-1-0 isn’t inevitable anymore.

Is holding onto Hart instead of cashing in the right move? That’s certainly a matter for debate.

But the Xfinity Arena regulars? No doubt they are thrilled at the prospect of having the privilege of cheering on Hart the rest of his junior career.

Follow Nick Patterson on Twitter at @NickHPatterson.

Talk to us

More in Sports

Dream pull away in 3rd to beat Storm

Seattle never leads in a 90-76 loss to Atlanta.

Seattle Mariners' Abraham Toro, center, is greeted by Julio Rodriguez, right, and Cal Raleigh, left, after Toro hit a single to score Marcus Wilson with the winning run during the ninth inning of the team's baseball game against the Oakland Athletics, Saturday, July 2, 2022, in Seattle. The Mariners won 2-1. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Late fireworks lead Mariners over Athetics

Justin Upton homers in the eighth and Abraham Toro hits walk-off single to give Seattle a 2-1 victory.

AquaSox's manager, Louis Boyd, Funko Field at Everett Memorial Stadium in Everett on July 28, 2019. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
AquaSox can’t hold early lead, fall to Emeralds

Andy Thomas hits two home runs in Everett’s 6-3 defeat.

Kevin Clark / The Herald

***Silvertips Special Sections*****
Yan Khomenko signals for substitution Sunday night at Xfinity Arena in Everett, Wa on September 6th, 2015

Sports:  Silvertips Special Section
Shot on: 09/06/15
Silvertips add pair in CHL import draft

Everett selects Czechian forward Dominik Rymon with pick 57 and Swiss goalie Tim Metzger 117th overall.

FILE - UCLA guard Jaime Jaquez Jr., right, tries to get by Southern California forward Isaiah Mobley during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game on March 5, 2022, in Los Angeles. UCLA and Southern California are planning to leave the Pac-12 for the Big Ten Conference in a seismic change that could lead to another major realignment of college sports. A person who spoke to The Associated Press on Thursday, June 30, 2022, on condition of anonymity because the schools' talks with the Big Ten have not been made public said the schools have taken steps to request an invitation to join the conference. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)
UCLA, USC leaving Pac-12 for Big Ten

The two schools announce they will be exiting the Pac-12 in 2024 in a major blow to the viability of the conference.

Silvertips’ Niko Huuhtanen and Giants’ Jaden Lipinski fight for the puck during the playoff match up against the Vancouver Giants on Saturday, April 23, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Silvertips will look to replace Huuhtanen in CHL import draft

The standout forward who scored 37 goals this past season recently signed a professional contract to play in Finland.

The roof-top sign for Climate Pledge Arena is shown next to the Space Needle, Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021, ahead of the NHL hockey Seattle Kraken's home opener Saturday against the Vancouver Canucks in Seattle. The historic angled roof of the former KeyArena was preserved, but everything else inside the venue, which will also host concerts and be the home of the WNBA Seattle Storm basketball team, is brand new. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Seattle to host NBA preseason game between Blazers, Clippers

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell declined to comment on any recent conversations with NBA officials about expansion to the city.

Evergreen Speedway remains closed due the stay-at-home order while NASCAR will run it's first race since the pandemic began on Sunday. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Community roundup: Evans tops podium at Mark Galloway Shootout

Also, EvCC athletes named All-American, Tulalip native signs with MLB organization and more.

Seattle Seahawks running back DeeJay Dallas (31), wide receiver Cade Johnson (88), and wide receiver Aaron Fuller (13) walk off the field after NFL football practice Wednesday, June 8, 2022, in Renton, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Seahawks announce training camp registration date for fans

Fans must register through the team’s website starting Wednesday at 10 a.m.

Most Read