Following an invite to orientation camp, Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson has been selected to represent Team USA at the Sochi Olympics in February. Once a rising star, Carlson has firmly established himself as one of the Capitals’ top defenders. His physical play, reliability on the penalty kill, and ability to play massive minutes made a strong case for the possibility of being named to the roster.
Among Capitals blueliners, Carlson’s 15 points in 40 games put him second only to Mike Green. He leads the team with 83 blocked shots–also good for 14th in the league. While we’re talking numbers, Carlson lays claim to 12 penalty minutes, making him one of the Caps’ more disciplined players. On the flip side, he’s scored 4 power-play goals.
Carlson’s contributions go beyond numbers, such as his ability to quarterback the Capitals’ power play. That skill is one of many intangibles in his game which make him a great defenseman as both a Capital and NHL player. Expect to see his success continue at the international level.
The upcoming Olympic Games won’t be Carlson’s first time repping the United States in international competition. At the 2010 World Junior Championship, he scored the game-winning goal that handed Team USA gold and Team Canada silver. The goal made him a hero and also served as a reminder of his offensive capabilities, which often go unnoticed. Whether we’ll witness similar output in Sochi remains to be seen, but in the meantime, hearty congratulations are in order for Carlson.