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2016-17 Rink Wrap: John Carlson

From Alzner to Winnik, we're taking a look at and grading the 2016-17 season for every player who laced 'em up for the Caps for a significant number of games during the campaign, with an eye towards 2017-18. Next up, John Carlson.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Toronto Maple Leafs at Washington Capitals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Japers' Rink Player Card (click for a hi-res version; data via, and Cap Friendly):

Carlson's Season, Game-by-Game (via HockeyViz, explained here):

Carlson and His Defense Partners (chart by @muneebalamcu):

Carlson's 5v5 Teammates and Competition (via HockeyViz, explained here):

Carlson QoCT

Carlson's 5v5 Usage (chart by @muneebalamcu):

Carlson's With-or-Without You (via HockeyViz, explained here):

Carlson's Rolling Shot-Attempt (Corsi) -For Percentage (chart by @muneebalamcu):

Carlson's Eight Seasons (via

Carlson’s Goals Against Replacement (GAR) Components (chart by @ChartingHockey, data by @DTMAboutHeart, explained here, Tableau here):

Carlson's HERO Chart (via Own The Puck):

Key Stat: For the third time in four years, Real American Hero John Carlson led all Capitals skaters in average time-on-ice (22:42).

Interesting Stat: Among Caps defensemen and adjusted for venue and score, Good Ol’ Seventy-Four had the second-worst Shots For/60 (30.1), but the second-best Scoring Chances For/60 (9.9). The Caps may not shoot much when Carlson is on the ice, but when they do decide to pull the trigger, they’re pretty good decisions.

The Good: Look, Americans aren’t know for our discipline. Cheetos, Fritos, Breyers and/or Dreyer’s? Forget it, we’re eating the whole package. But that’s why John Carlson is an American Hero: he is disciplined.

Carlson was one of just three Capitals skaters to post a positive penalty differential this season (Marcus Johansson, T.J. Oshie), all while leading the team in average time-on-ice for the third time in four years. In fact, in the entire God-blessed NHL, there are just three defensemen over the last seven years to amass at least 500 games played and only accrue fewer than 160 penalty minutes. They are Brian Campbell, Dan Girardi, and John Carlson.

As we mentioned above, Carlson also recorded the second-most Scoring Chances/60 among Caps defensemen, behind only Nate Schmidt (9.94). He managed to do that while playing tough minutes, both in terms of deployments and competition (a role that shifted a bit over the course of the season, and notably so in the first round of the playoffs).

The Bad: As the mantle of loveable offensively-capable Capitals defenseman was passed with great pomp and flow from Mike Green to John Carlson, many hoped that the team had found its supplemental blue line scoring while perhaps, ahem, tightening up the defensive side of things a bit.

That was not quite the case, this year.

In 2016-2017, John Carlson allowed the most Shots Against/60 (score/venue adj.) of any Capitals defenseman (28.91), as well as the most Scoring Chances Against/60 (9.59), a category in which he trailed only Alex Ovechkin on the entire team. Among defensemen who played at least 20 games with the hometown Red & Blue (looking at you, Kevin Shattenkirk), Carlson ranked last in Goals For/60 (2.63).

Of course, this doesn’t come as news to you, Caps fan. You have eyes. You noticed that Carlson looked a step behind at certain points this season, his speed seemingly evaporating a few degrees just like Karl Alzner. You watched just like we did as Matt Niskanen and Dmitry Orlov elevated their play and were rewarded with a de facto top pairing in the postseason, ousting long-time bosom buddies “Carlzner.”

The Video:

The Vote: Rate Carlson below on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) based on his performance relative to his potential and your expectations for the season - if he had the best year you could have imagined him having, give him a 10; if he more or less played as you expected he would, give him a 5 or a 6; if he had the worst year you could have imagined him having, give him a 1.

The Discussion: Should the Capitals trade John Carlson while his league-wide value is still relatively high? Who would you like to see Carlson paired with next season? Should he go all-in and grow a mullet? What would it take for you to give him a "10" next year?

Other Carlson Season Reviews: RMNB


How do you rate John Carlson’s 2016-17 season?

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152 votes total Vote Now