When Orland Park, Illinois-native Connor Carrick arrived at Washington Capitals’ training camp in September, he hoped simply to get out of Tom Wilson’s shadow and make a name for himself. After an explosive camp, the diminutive 19-year-old defenseman is now a known entity among fans.
On Tuesday, Carrick is expected to be named to Washington Capitals’ opening night roster. He may play against the Chicago Blackhawks, his favorite team growing up as a kid in Illinois.
Carrick made the roster because he is a smart, smooth-skating defenseman who plays with the poise of a 30-year-old. He lacks the talent of a Dmitry Orlov. He does not have the size of a Tyson Strachan. But those players are in Hershey and Carrick is with Washington because he consistently got the puck on net and played nearly flawless defense– though he had some challenges facing the Flyers on Friday.
Carrick finished the preseason tied for third on the team in points with one goal and four assists in five games. Carrick had the same amount of points as a certain reigning Hart Trophy winner (four goals, one assist).
Primary assist on Ovechkin goal.
Primary assist on Fehr goal.
Primary assist (off a shot on goal) on Ovechkin goal.
The next step for Carrick is to demonstrate consistency at the NHL level and refusing to let his size and inexperience cost the Capitals goals. If he struggles, the Capitals will have to make another big decision: whether to send Carrick back to OHL Plymouth or giving him a new challenge in Hershey. Whatever happens, we should appreciate how this 5-foot-nothin’, 100-and-nothin’ player — an underdog in the truest sense — did the improbable. He has a bright future ahead of him.
P.S. – If you haven’t already, please read our massive feature on Carrick that we published during the preseason. Or just see Chris Gordon’s awesome photo. Now that he’s made the team, it’s mandatory reading.
Video gathering and stats via Fedor Fedin.
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