Welcome to Caps 'Round the Clock, a blog covering the Washington Capitals and the NHL. In season, I update the Blog after every practice and on game day with Caps news and information, and then provide a recap and analysis after each contest. I also write a periodical Prospect Watch and weekly feature pieces on the state of the Men in Red and other things Capitals. And of course, I will post videos and tidbits from around the League and offer my two cents as the season wears on. In the offseason, I write a Report Card for each player, and will keep you updated on all the news about the Caps through the summer. I'm glad you're here, and hope you come back!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Report Card: John Carlson

The speed, the development...it's all a blur. Go on the 74.
Today I bring you the twenty-eigthth installment of my "Report Card" series, as I continue my evaluation of each Capital throughout this past regular season and playoffs.  Today's player is young stud defenseman John Carlson, who finished his third year in the organization this season.

Stats/Season Summary: Carlson had a very good year, playing in all 82 games and recording 7 goals, 30 assists, a +21 rating, and 44 penalty minutes in his rookie year.  Carlson also lead all Caps players in blocked shots, getting in front of 160 pucks a game.  He played almost all of his minutes on the de facto number one pairing with Karl Alzner and saw extensive minutes on both the power play and penalty kill.  He was not without rough patches, however; he had a dry spell in the middle of the season that had many (including me) wondering if he had hit the rookie wall and was running out of gas after his terrific start. But he finished hot, so...yeah.  That pretty much eliminated that theory. Grade: A
Role Play: Not expected to make the team out of training camp by some, Carlson made it and was a factor pretty much from the start.  He jumped in and utilized all of his talents without hesitation, exactly what you want but not what you might expect from someone who was at that time still 20.  But he was rewarded for his aggressive and non-hesitant play by January, forming the number one pairing with Alzner and doing things that nobody, probably not even George McPhee, thought he would be able to do this early in terms of both offense and defense. He exceeded expectations for himself by several miles, and it was very exciting to see. Grade: A+
Playoffs: As good as his regular season was, Carlson's playoffs were not as good, mainly because he was hurt and ineffective in the Tampa series.  He played in all nine playoffs games and recorded two goals, an assist, a -2 rating and four PIMs, but could not find a way to be effective after suffering that hip pointer in game one against Tampa.  He was good against the Rangers, though, never looking out of place or overwhelmed.  But injury or not, his lack of productivity in the second round is a reason the Caps got broomed. Grade: B
Future Potential: Only 21 years old, Captain America's best years are not even close, and he will continue to get better this season and beyond.  He is mature and skilled beyond his years and will hopefully be a big part of a championship in the near future.  Right now, he's DC's best all-around defenseman in my book, and that is saying something despite his age.  He's a keeper and he needs to be locked up before he really breaks out offensively (that would mean, like, now). Grade: A+

The final report card of the year will be posted on June 17 and will feature captain Alex Ovechkin.

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