The Philadelphia Flyers announced Tuesday that starting goaltender Carter Hart has taken an indefinite leave of absence from the team for personal reasons.
General Manager Danny Briere released a brief statement saying “Carter Hart has requested and been granted an indefinite leave of absence citing personal reasons. The club will have no further comment at this time.”
Here’s the statement from the Flyers in full:
Per Philadelphia Flyers General Manager, Daniel Briere:
"Carter Hart has requested and been granted an indefinite leave of absence citing personal reasons. The club will have no further comment at this time." pic.twitter.com/jC1GyxcKWR
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) January 23, 2024
Hart, 25, is coming off one of his worst starts of an otherwise strong season Saturday when he allowed five goals on 15 shots in a loss to Colorado before being pulled.
He’s 12-9-3 in his sixth NHL season, the final one of his three-year contract worth $11.9 million. A native of Sherwood Park, Alberta, outside Edmonton, Hart is set to be a restricted free agent next summer.
The Flyers have not provided any details about the reason for Hart’s leave of absence. However, the team’s statement on social media has garnered a lot of attention. Fans have been speculating about the reasons behind Hart’s absence, with some suggesting that it could be related to his mental health issues.
Hart has been open about his struggles with mental health in the past. In December 2023, he revealed that he had been dealing with an undisclosed illness that had been going on for a while. He expressed relief after discovering the root cause of his health issues, enabling him to take the right steps for treatment.
Hart was also a member of the Canadian team that won the gold medal at the 2018 World Junior Championships. His teammate Dillon Dube has also taken a leave of absence from the Calgary Flames for personal reasons. The two players were part of a group of players who were investigated for their involvement in the 2018 World Juniors sex scandal. The investigation is still ongoing.
With Hart out of the lineup, the Flyers have recalled goaltender Cal Petersen from their AHL affiliate, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
The Flyers, who have been one of the league’s most pleasant surprises this season and hold a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, will face the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night in one of their final games before the All-Star break.
The Flyers are currently ranked second in the Metropolitan Division with 57 points, trailing only the New York Rangers. With Hart’s absence, the team will have to rely on Petersen and other players to maintain their position in the standings.
The Flyers have been one of the most exciting teams to watch this season, and fans will be hoping that they can continue their impressive run of form.