Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

John Carlson 2014-2015 Preview and Projections

After taking a look at three consecutive forwards, including Troy Brouwer yesterday, it’s time to take a look at a defenseman: John Carlson.

First off, I recommend you read this preview while listening to a song that describes precisely what John Carlson is:

Now that I’ve set the mood, let’s begin the preview!

John Carlson’s 2013-2014 Season In Review

John Carlson set numerous career highs in 2013-2014. He set career highs in:

  • Shots (208)
  • Goals (10)
  • Power Play Assists (17)
  • Power Play Goals (five)
  • Time On Ice (1801 minutes)
  • Average Time On Ice (24:31)

The main reason that John Carlson had so much time on the ice? He led the Washington Capitals in both power play minutes and penalty kill minutes. Carlson played very well against top level competition.

John Carlson became the first Washington Capitals defenseman to play for the USA in the Olympics. In short, Carlson was definitely a bright spot for the Washington Capitals last season.

However, there were some concerning things about John Carlson’s season. Like most of the Capitals, Carlson struggled at even strength. But Carlson’s struggles were quite concerning. It’s not good when Karl Alzner has more even strength points than you. You definitely want a top paring defenseman to get more than 14 points at even strength.

I believe that his struggles can be chalked up to two factors: fatigue from spending so much time on the power play and penalty kill, and a very poor defensive (and offensive) scheme. Despite Carlson’s struggles, I think that Barry Trotz can fix a lot of them.

Top Moment From 2013-2014

Scoring in the Olympics.

Also, remember that time Carlson went all Dikembe Mutombo on a shot to save a potential goal? That was fun.

Worst Moment From 2013-2014

Any moment that John Carlson was at even strength. If we’re talking gifs, this one stands out.

What To Expect From John Carlson in 2014-2015

I’m expecting big things from John Carlson in 2014-2015. I’m excited to see what Barry Trotz is going to do with Carlson. I believe that Trotz will be the best thing to happen to Carlson’s career. Trotz knows how to coach defensemen, and Carlson is probably one of the most talented defensemen that Trotz has ever had to work with and help develop. I think he’s going to help Carlson fufill his true potential as a borderline elite top pairing defenseman.

Trotz has always encouraged his defensemen to get involved on offense. Of course, in Nashville, he didn’t have much of a choice because he didn’t have good forwards. The Washington Capitals have very good forwards. While I don’t see Trotz getting the defensemen in DC quite as involved on offense as he did in Nashville, John Carlson obviously benefits from that.

With much more depth on the blue line, John Carlson will not have to spend so much time on the power play and penalty kill. He’ll definitely still see time on both because, quite frankly, he’s great at both. Spending less time on both will help him get more time at even strength, which should naturally help his even strength numbers.

Bold Predictions

John Carlson will set career highs in goals, assists, and points. This is probably the boldest of all my bold predictions (at least so far), but John Carlson will be a Norris Trophy candidate. To define what that means, he will finish in the top 10 in voting.

NEXT: Jason Chimera.

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