We’ve got three players left to grade in our Washington Capitals report card series and it’s only fitting we are grading American defenseman John Carlson on the 4th of July. Even though his production dipped this past season, his defense improved and on my upcoming protected list I will say Carlson is one of my three defensemen I’ll protect.
Carlson recorded 10 goals and 34 assists for 44 points in 52 games last season. After finishing second in the Norris Trophy voting the previous season he came in 12th this past season. Carlson’s runner up Norris season included a career high points per 60 minutes with 2.65. It dipped in 2021 to 2.13.
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Despite his numbers dipping, Carlson was tied for fifth among NHL defensemen with 44 points. He also had an NHL best 1.69 points per 60 minutes at five on five. He also posted an Expected Goals percentage of 51.24 percent. He also did well in other advanced stats. Carlson had a 50.87percent Corsi For percentage and a 50.55 percent Scoring Chances For percentage.
Carlson averaged a team high 23:47 with 3:16 on the power play and 1:55 on the penalty kill. While the regular season numbers were OK we need to talk about the postseason.
Before we dive in we can admit that Carlson wasn’t 100 percent. He said he was playing through a knee injury and it’s unclear whether or not it will require surgery. Carlson had an Expected Goals For percentage of 32.83 percent and a Goals For percentage of 33.33 percent. Yeah that’s pretty bad.
Carlson has a cap hit of $8 million which the Caps are paying him for the next five seasons. Other than the postseason, that investment that they made in him three years ago has been worth it and he’s been a good captain of the defense.
Grade B-: Carlson had a decent regular season but was hardly noticeable in the playoffs. It wasn’t a grade A season like last year but it was still a tad bit above average thanks to the strong advanced stats.