Former Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner was a staple on the Washington blueline during his time in D.C., playing in a team-record 423 consecutive games before leaving the team as a free agent in the summer of 2017, signing a five-year deal with the Montreal Canadiens worth $22.5 million. However, after struggling and being placed into a reduced role last season, Alzner was sent to the American Hockey League. And in a recent interview, Alzner made it clear he intends to play in the NHL, even if it means a move elsewhere.
In an interview with TVA Sports, Alzner was asked if he would request to be traded if he is demoted to the Laval Rocket, the Canadiens’ AHL affiliate. Alzner responded:
“Certainly, if it’s like last year”
After averaging just over 20 minutes a night during his nine seasons in Washington, and 20:05 in his first season with the Habs, Alzner saw just an average of 17:18 in nine games with Montreal last season before being sent to the AHL. For a player that was once one of the Capitals’ most reliable blueliners, the demotion hurt:
“I want to have a chance to play, which I did not really have last year. I felt good in every game I played. It’s hard to know what to do differently…I do not really know what to expect.”
To add further insult to injury, Alzner did not have an opportunity to discuss his situation with Canadiens’ front office members such as General Manager Marc Bergevin, instead having just a few minutes with Laval Head Coach Joel Bouchard. Alzner also made it clear that he has not officially requested to be moved, but will change his mind if the Canadiens once again decide to relegate him to a role in the AHL, telling TVA:
“I do not want to make noise. At the same time, you want to make sure your voice is heard in a situation like that. I was probably open to the idea of being exchanged when I read between the lines. I would prefer to play at the highest level. Although I liked my time in Laval, I do not want a team to use me as a mentor. I want to be led and win.”
Alzner also iterated he knows the financial details of his contract (which carries a cap hit of $4.625 million) will make any potential transaction difficult and also stated that he wants the team to succeed, but also wants to play a role he feels he is suited for. Whatever happens, it looks to be an interesting season for Alzner, the Caps’ former Iron Man.
By Michael Fleetwood
Interview with TVA can be found HERE