CSNWashington.com Capitals Insider Chuck Gormley will evaluate the 2011-12 performance of each player on the Caps roster. One breakdown will occur every weekday in alphabetical order. Today: John Carlson
John CarlsonPosition: Defense
HtWt: 6-3, 212
Penalty minutes: 22
Average Ice Time: 21:51
Contract Status: Restricted Free Agent 845,833 cap hit in 2011-12
Strengths: Among Caps defensemen, Carlson ranked second behind Dennis Wideman in goals, assists, points and ice time. He led the team in blocked shots in both the regular season 153 and playoffs 38. He is one of just three Capitals Karl Alzner and Brooks Laich are the others who have played in all 82 games in each of the past two seasons. Carlson has a deceptively hard and accurate shot and he paired up with Alzner to form a strong top defensive unit down the stretch and in the playoffs.
Weaknesses: Despite his strong offensive numbers, Carlson suffered through bouts of inconsistency during the regular season, a normal occurrence for a second-year player. His minus-15 was tied for team worst and his occasional defensive lapses left fans wanting more.
Memorable Moment on the ice: On Dec. 5, Carlson recorded a career-high three assists and was a plus-3, leading the Capitals to a rally that fell just short in a 5-4 loss to the Florida Panthers. The following week he was named the NHLs Third Star of the Week with one goal and six assists in a three-game stretch in which his ice time increased dramatically under Dale Hunter.
Memorable Moment off the ice: Before the Capitals faced off against the Rangers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals Carlson was asked if he was a Rangers fan growing up in northern New Jersey. No, I didn't like them, said Carlson, who was born in Natlick, Mass., and attended high school in Metuchen, N.J. I was pretty much a Bruins fan, actually, and then I kind of adapted a little bit to the Devils because of living near them and being able to catch a few games. But never really a Rangers fan, no.
2012-13 Expectations: With Wideman likely to sign elsewhere on July 1 the Capitals will need to re-sign Carlson and rely on him to build on the 32-point season he had in 2011-12. If he can turn around his plus-minus he went from plus-21 as a rookie to minus-15 this season Carlson and Alzner have a chance to be one of the NHLs top defensive units.