Capitals: Why John Carlson is the Coolest Defenseman in the NHL

John Carlson, Washington Capitals (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
John Carlson, Washington Capitals (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

You ready for another weird one? Okay.

John Carlson had a campaign for the ages in the 2019-2020 regular season, amassing 75 points in 69 games before the regular season was cut short because of COVID-19. Due to his on-ice success, Carlson has received a lot more coverage throughout the hockey media.

Living up in Canada, it would be rare to see the Sportsnet broadcast cover John Carlson whenever the Toronto Maple Leafs would play the Washington Capitals. Now, he was a major talking point before every game the Caps played. Because of his play, Carlson is a lock to be a finalist for the Norris Trophy, and a lot of analysts have him as a lock to take home the hardware.

I have always thought John Carlson was cool. After Mike Green left, I looked at Carlson as my new, favourite defenseman. Throughout the years, I have always just seen him as a cool guy. Now, after his emergence over a couple solid seasons before his breakout season this past year, a lot of people seem to think Carlson is a cool guy to like.

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I would imagine this is because of his on-ice performance. Well, I thought John Carlson was cool BEFORE everyone else thought he was cool…does that make me cool? Anyway, I figure since I am completely fanboying over and giving stick taps to a 30-year old man, I may as well write an article about it to try and get other people on my side. This will be a follow up to my article in which I claimed that Braden Holtby was the coolest goalie in the NHL. Only this time, I will explain why John Carlson is the coolest defenseman in the NHL.

To start things off, I will state the obvious: John Carlson is arguably the best defenseman in the NHL. He led an offensively loaded Caps team in scoring with 75 points in 69 games from the blue line, which is beyond impressive. He outscored the likes of Alex Ovechkin, Nick Backstrom, Evgeny Kuzentsov and T.J. Oshie. He has really emerged as a top-tier offensive defenseman over the last couple seasons, scoring 68 and 70 points respectively over the previous two seasons before his dominant 2019-2020 season.

It is easy to be cool when you are running the show as a defenseman in the best hockey league in the world. He is certainly doing that as Carlson was on-pace to be the first 90-point blue-liner since Ray Bourque in 1993-1994. Carlson has always been a talented offensive presence, however, as he scored one of the coolest goals a junior hockey player can score…

Carlson was an American hockey hero before he joined the Caps as he scored their overtime game-winner in 2010 at the World Juniors. Even his celebration was cool, showing flashes of a Patrick Kane playoff overtime goal celebration. The obvious has been stated: Being an unreal hockey player makes you cool, and Carlson checks that box and then some.

The next reason I believe John Carlson is the coolest defenseman is definitely more subjective; It is simply the way he looks and carries himself.

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John Carlson, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Washington Capitals (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

If you want to be cool, you have to look cool. In my opinion, he just has a cool look. It is assisted by the fact that he is #74, which is just a cool number to be in the NHL. In terms of his look, he sort of has more unique eyelids than most people, which constantly makes it seem like he just doesn’t care. This makes it so much cooler when he lights the league on fire because he looks like he isn’t even trying. And when younger defensemen step in and try to be the best in the league and put John Carlson in their shadow, he looks like he just effortlessly stays ahead of them as if he’s saying, “Yeah yeah, are you done?” He isn’t impressed because he can do it better and has done it better. He has a Cup ring on that finger. He goes about his business as one of the best in the game, and he looks like he doesn’t even care about it. Does it get cooler?

The only time he looks like he cares is either when he gets involved in the rough stuff, or when he scores a goal (which is fairly often, cause he’s dominant as I have said for the 600th time). Much like his World Junior days, Carlson has a sweet celebration for when he scores. He pumps his fist so God-damned hard it should send chills down your Capitals-loving spine. Non harder than this big rip against the Vegas Golden Knights in game four of the Stanley Cup Finals (arguably one of my favourite goals of all time because of all factors involved; Pass, Shot, Ping of the bar, Celly).

Attached to his “I-don’t-care” appearance is his calm and low-key personality. You can tell when you listen to Carlson speak he is calm and presents himself as a very laid-back individual. However, he also seems articulate and intelligent, more so than some other players in the league when you hear them speak. Doesn’t care AND is intelligent? Seems pretty cool…

Another aspect of him being understated is that he also seems like a guy with a dry sense of humour that loves to chop it up with the boys in the room. He comes off as a guy everyone likes to have around. Not the loudest guy, but someone who takes everything in and can make jokes that the boys in the room can laugh at while also being responsible. In other words, he seems like the opposite of Ovi, but a guy that Ovi loves to death. Am I reading way too much into his personality based on a few professional interviews and one in-depth Spittin’ Chiclets interview? 100%, but it is quarantine and there’s no hockey and what else am I going to write about? He seems like a chill guy, back off.

In addition, while writing this I have just read the news that John Carlson is expecting his third kid in the near future. It sounds like things are going pretty sweet for the effective blue-liner off of the ice as well. Congratulations to John and his wife, Gina!

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Well, I hope I have pleaded my random and borderline creepy case for why John Carlson is the coolest defenseman in the National Hockey League. The only way he could get cooler is if he has a Norris Trophy to his name. After a season like the one he just had, it isn’t impossible to think he could bring one home. But for now, if John Carlson ever happens to read this: I am actually a normal guy, despite the fact I analyzed your face for this article. I promise.