With the departure of Mike Green it leaves what is probably more of a nostalgic void rather than a real one. For 10 years we got to watch Mike Green feed Ovechkin in the “Ovi Spot” on the power play. This, to me, and to many Caps fans is the biggest hole his departure leaves.
This is where John Carlson comes in. This is shaping up to be a big year for number 74, who in his own right is coming off a career year. Can Carlson solidify himself as a top overall defensemen in the league the way Green already had at 25?
Here are a few things that we know about John Carlson that make us think that he can and will:
- In his six-year career he has played a full season FIVE times(48 games played in the ’12-’13 shortened season), all in succession. For comparison, Green played ONE full season in his 10 year career. Durability for defensemen is a huge thing for this team who can’t afford to play defensive pairs the way they did in the ’13-’14 season.
- He is coming off a 2014-2015 campaign that saw him pick up 43 assists, which was 16 more than the year before and 13 more than his previous career high. For a guy that is being thrusted into the role of play maker on the power play, last year should’ve been a huge confidence boost for him.
- He is willing to work. Multiple times last season 74 would practice quarterbacking the power play after practice with Ovie. That’s what it will take for him to be as good as Green was at it — practice, practice, practice.
- He had a career high 55 points. Anytime you can get these numbers from defensemen your team is going to benefit.
John is clearly one of the top defenders on the team and should earn some accolades in the next few seasons . But, one thing is still for sure, at his peak Mike Green was producing offense at an amazing rate. So he needs to continue to pick up his goal production but continue his solid defensive play. As they did with Green, the Caps will lean heavily on Carlson to pump out the highest time on ice and also work with the first line power play as Green did.
With Mike Green gone, John Carlson is sure to step up and be what Mike Green was, or, what we wanted Mike Green to be.
By Chris McIntosh