The Washington Capitals have recalled defenseman John Carlson from the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League (AHL), vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today.
Carlson, 19, is a first-year pro who stands 6’3”, 208 pounds. The Natick, Mass., native has played 17 games for Hershey and has one goal, nine assists and zero penalty minutes. His 10 points lead all Hershey blueliners and rank third among AHL rookie defensemen and his +14 rating is tied for the team lead with Karl Alzner.
Carlson joined Hershey last year after the completion of the OHL’s London Knights season where he had 16 goals and 60 assists in 59 junior games. He played in 16 Calder Cup playoff games for Hershey and had two goals and one assist as the Bears won the Calder Cup.
The Capitals selected Carlson in the first round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft with the 27th overall selection. Carlson, who is No. 74 with Washington, is eligible to make his NHL debut tomorrow night at Verizon Center when the Caps host Montreal. Carlson would be the first member of Washington’s 2008 draft class to play in the NHL.
COMMENT: As you read in my Rangers post game blog on Tuesday, something likely happened to Shaone Morrisonn and Tarik confirmed that he is day to day with an upper body injury on Twitter yesterday. Thus the Caps need a defenseman for tomorrow night given all of their injuries. So the first question most fans would have would be why Carlson first instead of Alzner on the call up, who already has NHL experience? The likely answer: Salary Cap! Alzner carries a much higher cap hit and with the Michal Nylander saga still not resolved GM George McPhee likely does not have room to bring #27 up under the ceiling.
By the way, fans will really like Carlson, he is a puck rushing defenseman with a very good shot. He will likely be up full time, along with Alzner, next season. He and #27 have bright futures as I have mentioned numerous times in past blogs.