Capitals: John Carlson achieves huge milestone in 2020

John Carlson, Washington Capitals (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
John Carlson, Washington Capitals (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

John Carlson of the Washington Capitals continued to break records.

Alex Ovechkin wasn’t the only Washington Capitals player to achieve milestones this season. John Carlson, who has now and all season long been a part of the conversation for the Norris Trophy had a breakout season.

Carlson led all defensemen in the NHL with 60 assists and 75 points. He was on pace for an 89 point season, a mark last reached by a defensemen 26 years ago.

Carlson also set or tied career highs in every offensive category, continuing to outdo himself year after year. Yet there is one thing that is missing from him that he hopes to get besides another Stanley Cup with the Capitals: the Norris Trophy. It’s a trophy bestowed to the league’s top defensemen.

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Carlson finished 10 points ahead of Roman Josi of the Nashville Predators, the second highest scoring defensemen and 20 points ahead of the third highest which is Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Carlson averaged 1.09 points per game which was the highest total by a defensemen since the trio of Ray Bourque, Al MacInnis and Sergei Zubov did it in the 1993-94 season. Bourque was the one who took home the Norris that year.

Only 13 other defensemen have recorded 1.09 points per game after playing 69 games and nine of those 13 won the Norris Trophy in their career. Carlson is the only defensemen to average 1.09 pints per game. He’s the first defensemen to do so since Paul Coffey when he finished with 113 points in 75 games in 1988-89.

Carlson very well could’ve finished with 89 points and had he reached it, he would’ve become the 10th defensemen to do it. Coffey did it eight times, Bobby Orr (four times), Bourque (four times), Denis Potvin (three times), MacInnis (twice), and Phil Housley, Brian Leetch, Gary Suter and Zubov. Carlson’s would’ve been 89 points also would have been the highest by a blue liner since Bourque and Zubov in 1993-94.

Carlson’s 60 assists not only led defensemen but was the fourth highest among all players in the NHL. Leon Draisaitl led the league with 67, while Connor McDavid and Artemi Panarin had 63. He became one of five defensemen to reach the 70 point mark in 59 or fewer games in the last 30 years. He’s also the first defensemen to rank fourth or better in the league in assists since Victor Hedman in 2016-17.

Carlson has 373 assists in his career and earlier this season he passed Calle Johansson for most assists by a defensemen in Capitals franchise history.

Carlson was on pace for 71 assists prior to the season getting suspended which would have been the highest total by a defensemen since 1993-94.

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Carlson deserves a Norris and several players have already campaigned for it, including Alex Ovechkin. One notable player that was an opponent and rival was Anthony Stewart of the Carolina Hurricanes.