The Key Stat: John Carlson posted his third 70-point season in his last four years. Over that span, eight different defensemen posted 70-point seasons, but Carlson is the only one to have done it more than once. He also happens to be the only defenseman to have posted at least 70 points and at least 15 goals twice in that span.
The Good: Carlson was elite in his mix of offensive production in 2021-22. He was one of only four defensemen in the league to record at least 15 goals and at least 70 points (Roman Josi, Cale Makar, and Victor Hedman, who happen to be this season’s Norris Trophy finalists, were the others). Carlson was the only one among the four, however, to post at least one shorthanded point as well, recording three shorthanded assists for the season. Carlson also finished the year with 0.91 points per game, the second highest of his career (he averaged 1.09 points per game in 2019-2020). Carlson also posted his seventh season playing at least 75 games, and he is now one behind Calle Johansson for the all time lead in 75-game seasons among defensemen for the Caps.
The Bad: Carlson is the ice-time eater among Capitals skaters, but that is not necessarily a good thing. In 17 games in the regular season in which he logged at least 25:30 in ice time, the Caps were just 8-4-5, even as he was going 3-13-16, plus-8. The playoffs continued a somewhat odd trend in offensive production for Carlson. In three seasons culminating in the Stanley Cup postseason of 2018, Carlson posted 12 goals on 167 shots (7.2 percent) in 49 games played. But since that Stanley Cup year, he has only one goal on 50 shots (1.9 percent) in 23 games. That goal came in this year’s opening round series against Florida in Game 3, the second and final win for the Caps in the series that they lost, four games to two. It was an empty netter, albeit scored from behind his own goal line. And after posting 10 power play goals in those three playoff seasons leading up to the Cup-winning year, he does not have a power play goal in the postseason since.
The Discussion: With the likelihood that there could be some turnover on the Caps’ blue line next season, would a youngster (Alexander Alexeyev, lucas Johansen) benefit being paired with Carlson, or would such a pairing diminish Carlson’s performance? Would Carlson’s game benefit from some reduction in his ice time (recognizing that his margin over Orlov was entirely a product of their difference in power play ice time)? And finally, what would it take for you to give Carlson a 10 next season?
The Vote: Rate John 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.
How do you rate John Carlson’s 2021-22 season?
This poll is closed