CSNWashington.com Capitals Insider Chuck Gormley will evaluate the 2013-14 performance of each player on the Caps roster. One breakdown will occur every weekday in alphabetical order. Today: John Carlson
Position: Right Defense
Age: 24 [turns 25 Jan. 10]
Ht/Wt: 6-3, 212
Penalty minutes: 22
Average Ice Time: 24:30
Contract Status: 4 years remaining on 6-year, $23.8 million contract [$3.966 million cap hit in 2014-15]
Strengths: Carlson blossomed into the Caps’ No. 1 defenseman this season, leading the team in time on the ice, leading all defensemen in goals with a career-high 10 and finishing second to Mike Green in points with a career-high 37. Carlson started off slow but emerged as a reliable two-way defenseman in November, playing his way onto the U.S. Olympic team and earning a top-six role on Team USA.
Weaknesses: There were times, especially late in the season, that Carlson struggled in his own end, but that may have been due to fatigue considering the number of minutes he played and his participating in the Olympics. Caps assistant coach Calle Johansson said at the end of the season that he probably leaned too heavily on Carlson and his defense partner Karl Alzner this season, burdening the young defensemen with too many heavy minutes.
Quotable: “I think a lot of teams would love to have this team that we have. We just didn't put it together. We put ourselves into too many holes and we didn't have too many great stretches to dig us out when teams do go on skids.”
2014-15 Expectations: At 24, Carlson is still developing as an all-around defenseman and his additional responsibilities this season should help his development moving forward. He’s one of the few untouchable players on the Caps’ current roster but would benefit from having a hard-edged No. 2 defenseman that would allow Karl Alzner to drop to a second pairing.