Washington Capitals John Carlson on Track for Record Season

John Carlson
TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 29: Washington Capitals Defenceman John Carlson (74) celebrates a first period goal during the regular season NHL game between the Washington Capitals and Toronto Maple Leafs on October 29, 2019 at Scotiabank Arena (Photo by Gerry Angus/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

When you check the NHL.com site’s individual scoring statistics, you may feel that your eyes are deceiving you… but they’re not. Right up there with such prolific scorers as Jack Eichel (42 points), Patrick Kane (36 points), Artemi Panarin (36 points), and Auston Matthews (33 points) is none other than Washington Capitals defenceman John Carlson with 43 points. He ranks sixth in scoring in the NHL. The next defenceman even close to Carlson is rookie sensation from the Colorado Avalanche, Cale Makar. He is 29th in scoring.

John Carlson Has Great Offensive Statistics

Carlson is on track to score 114 points with his 11 goals, 32 assists thus far in this 2019-20 season. Most of his points are during 5-on-5 play with only two power play goals and 11 power play assists to his credit. In his last five games it can be illustrated how dominant his play has been. He has collected three goals and four assists.

One would need to dust off the record books to see when a defenceman has scored as much as Carlson is on track to accomplish this season. Paul Coffey back in 1988-89 tallied 113 points and back in 1990-91 Al MacInnis collected 103 points.

That kind of play has his teammate Alex Ovechkin boasting that Carlson should be the Norris Trophy winner for the best defenceman in the NHL.

Carlson, who will turn 30-years-old on January 10, 2020 was a first-round selection of the Capitals back in 2008 going 27th overall. His career numbers are very impressive especially as a defenceman. He has participated in 719 games career games with 101 goals, 345 assists totaling 446 points. He stands 6’3″, and 215 pounds.

What Can be Attributed to the Increase in John Carlson’s Play

Some of the credit for Carlson’s increased level of offensive dominance could be attributed  to a new system started by coach Todd Reirden. Carlson told ESPN’s Emily Kaplan,  “We’ve changed our style a bit,” Carlson said. “We’re in the learning process right now and we’re getting caught a little bit here or there, as expected, but overall everyone is sticking to it really well. We’re playing a little more up-tempo — a speed game that fits our team right now.”

One thing Carlson has worked on is not the number of shots taken, but the quality of the shots he takes. That is perfectly illustrated by his superb 12.4 percent shooting accuracy. That is quite an increase from the past couple of seasons where he only averaged 6.7 percent. He also ‘only’ averaged 69 points over that period of time. His +/- is at 20 this season and was 21 last season. This means he is on the ice far more when the Capitals score than not.

In Conclusion

The Natick, Mass. native is a formidable force on the Washington blue line. If he does break through for over 100 points, he should be a great candidate for the Norris Trophy. His play has been helping the Capitals lead the entire NHL with 49 points as of this writing. They currently are on a six-game winning streak and have gone 8-1-1 in their last 10 games.

Carlson is one heck-of-a player. With his great offensive contributions, the Capitals have an excellent chance of returning to the Stanley Cup Finals again.

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