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!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Season Preview: Karl Alzner

Ah, an elite shutdown defenseman: a rare thing for a Caps fan until now.
As the regular season begins to draw nigh, day by day, the time has come to predict and begin to take a look at what the Caps and their fans can expect from each player on the roster.  Today's player is defenseman Karl Alzner, who will begin his fifth season in the organization this fall.

Recap of Last Season: Krazy Karl enjoyed a full on defensive breakout last year, jumping from third pairing defenseman at the start of the season to one half of one of the best young defensive pairings in the NHL by season's end.  He really was a rock by the time the playoffs rolled around.  Alzner played in all situations except the man advantage, and excelled in positional defending, blocking shots, and shorthanded work as he began to show the promise that made him the fifth overall pick in the 2007 Draft.  For my full post-season analysis of Alzner's stellar 2010-11, click here.
Expectations for this Season: More of the same.  Now that Alzner has signed his contract extension and will be a Cap for the next two years, Washington needs Alzner to continue to be a top shutdown defenseman for them in order to achieve their goal and go deep into the postseason.  The British Columbia native will be asked to play in all situations again, particularly on the penalty kill, and his sound defensive presence will be essential to the Caps.  He's an a-list player.
Playing Time: Defensive pairing A; penalty kill unit A.  As a top defenseman, Alzner is going to eat ice time like one.  Nothing new from last year.
Projections: 80 GP, 3 G, 11 A, +19 rating, 22:25 ATOI.

The next season preview will feature Mike Knuble.

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