There are some that would make the argument that the Washington Capitals employ one of the more overrated defensemen in the league, in Mike Green, mainly due to his injury issues holding back his performance over the past few seasons.
But an argument could also be made that one of the league’s most underrated defenseman resides in Washington, as John Carlson has been an incredibly steady performer for the Capitals over the past few seasons, without much notoriety to show for it.
Carlson isn’t the type of d-man who’s going to put up the type of numbers that a guy like Green can from the blue line. But he’s going to impact the game in a number of different ways beyond putting points on the stat sheet. Not that he isn’t capable of putting up solid numbers.
Had the 2013 season been a full year, there’s a chance that we could have seen him set some new career highs as far as his point total is concerned. He finished the year with 22 points overall, including 16 helpers. His career mark for points is 37.
A lot of what Carlson does, though, that makes him so effective is inside of his own zone. He’s a shot blocking machine, constantly giving up the body in order to prevent scoring chances for the opposition. He ended the year with 123 blocks in just 48 games, good for third in the league. His 18 takeaways were tops among Caps d-men this season as well.
Carlson averaged more minutes per game for the Capitals than any other player not named Mike Green. He lined up against consistently tougher competition than the likes of Green as well. His plus-11 rating was tops on the team as far as blue liners are concerned.
There’s no doubt that Carlson is a key piece of the Washington Capitals moving forward. He’s locked up for the next several years with a cap hit under $4 million. Should prove to be a bargain for Washington. He blocks a ton of shots, plays well in his own zone, and lines up against the top competition, while managing to put up a nice chunk of points from the blue line.
How about we start to give this guy a little more attention?