As we do each and every year in the weeks leading up to Capitals training camp, NoVa Caps is preparing key “player previews” for the upcoming season. Today, our annual player previews continue with defenseman John Carlson.
2016-17 SEASON RECAP
Despite missing a handful of games in mid-January due to injury, Carlson was 2nd among Capitals blueliners in total time on ice, behind Matt Niskanen. In 72 games played, Carlson recorded 9 goals and 37 points.
Carlson spent most the season on the Capitals 2nd pairing in the top 4 defensive group. He mainly played alongside Karl Alzner throughout the regular season, but later played more alongside Nate Schmidt in the postseason.
Carlson blocked 127 shots last season, which was ranked 3rd among Capitals blueliners. He led all Capitals defensemen with 51 takeaways and was 2nd among all Capitals skaters with 180 shots on goal, behind Alex Ovechkin.
JOHN CARLSON’S TOP MOMENT FROM 2016-17
2017-18 SEASON PREVIEW
With the departures of Karl Alzner, Nate Schmidt, and Kevin Shattenkirk in the offseason, the Capitals blueline will have a different look.
The Capitals will likely have 2 new defensemen playing in their lineup. John Carlson will likely be playing with a new defensive partner this year. Madison Bowey, Tyler Lewington, and Christian Djoos are some of the favorites to join the Capitals blueline next season. Carlson will likely begin the season with veteran Taylor Chorney, but will likely have various partners throughout next season. If Carlson is paired with some of the younger defenseman, Carlson will need to embrace becoming a veteran leader on the blueline.
2017-18 will be a big season for John Carlson. He is in the final year of his 6-year deal that he signed back in 2012. If Carlson has a bump in icetime and a bump in production in 2017-18, it will help him earn a lot of money in his next contract negotiation.
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The video below shows a fantastic stretch pass out of the defensive zone made by John Carlson. T.J. Oshie gathers the puck and is able to score on a partial breakaway.
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Carlson can be a little too casual around his own net at times. He led all Capitals defensemen with 88 giveaways last season. If he can tone down the breakaways, and lead breakouts more, Carlson’s offensive production should increase a bit.
KEY GOALS FOR 2017-18 SEASON
With key departures on the Capitals blueline, Carlson will likely see a bump in icetime. He will need to absorb more minutes for the younger Capitals defenseman to have an easier transition into the NHL. Carlson will need to:
-Have good health
-Embrace a veteran leadership role
-Have similar or better offensive production to 2016-17
-Lead the offensive breakout more
-Shoot more on the powerplay
OTHER PLAYER PREVIEWS
Washington Capitals Player Preview: Matt Niskanen
Washington Capitals Player Preview: Lars Eller
Washington Capitals Player Preview: Dmitry Orlov
Washington Capitals Player Preview: Tom Wilson
Washington Capitals Player Preview: T.J. Oshie
Washington Capitals Player Preview: Andre Burakovsky
Washington Capitals Player Preview: Evgeny Kuznetsov
By: George Foussekis
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