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. Ten days ago Carlson led the U.S. National Junior Team to a gold medal in the World Junior Championship, scoring two goals in the gold-medal game including the overtime winner.
Carlson, who turned 20 Jan. 10, is a first-year pro who stands 6’3”, 208 pounds. The Natick, Mass., native leads AHL defensemen in points per game (0.78). He ranks tied for ninth among AHL defensemen with 25 points (one goal, 24 assists) in 32 games. He is tied for eighth in the league (second among rookies) with a +17 rating.
Carlson has played three games for the Capitals this season, averaging 14:10 of ice time with an even plus/minus rating from Nov. 20-23.
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 play in tonight’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
COMMENT: With Brian Pothier out tonight (CSN HD at 7pm against the Maple Leafs) due to an injury (#2 was hit blocking a shot in Florida on Wednesday but finished the game), #74 will take the ice when the biscuit drops at the Verizon Center. Carlson is a puck moving defenseman and since he shoots right handed, he makes the most sense to recall for tonight (Karl Alzner shoots left). In addition, the Caps are going to make the playoffs and with the trade deadline approaching on March 3rd, GM George McPhee needs to see how his current assets can perform at the NHL level before he tries to make adjustments for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, which start in April.