You have skated nearly 3,000 minutes with John Carlson in your career up till now. Next season, you’ll play just 45 minutes of even strength ice time with him.
Barry Trotz, October 2014
|19:26||Average time on ice per game|
|51.6%||Shot attempt percentage during 5v5|
|51.7%||Goal percentage during 5v5|
Overtime of game seven against the Rangers was a perfect example of how much Alzner’s game developed under the new coaching staff. With the season on the line, stakes that may cause some to play too conservative, the Caps defense-first defender was jumping into the play, pinching along the boards, and was even in front of the net at one point. This is the type of play that led Alzner to set career-highs in goals and points, while tying his career-mark for assists.
He did all of this under a new defensive system and with a new defensive partner, playing 90 percent of his 5v5 minutes with Matt Niskanen. I said back in the first month of the season that I thought these two could be a steadying pair, and they didn’t disappoint. As the second pair, with the way the Caps defense was deployed, they were steady. The first pair handled the top opponents and the third pair got offensive deployments, leaving Alzner and Niskanen with something in between, which they handled for all 82 games. All the while, Alzner’s relative possession numbers ended around even on the season (-0.52 percent), while his raw possession (51 percent) was the second best of any season that he’s appeared in at least 40 games. Alzner also faced the second toughest zone starts among Caps defensemen.
Alzner was a key part of the penalty kill. He averaged over two minutes of PK time per game and limited opponent shot attempts better than any of his fellow blue liners in red. Oh, and he’s got the best beard of anyone on the team named not named Holtby.
Finally not asked to do too much, Alzner looked right at home on the second defensive pairing. This was arguably his best season as a pro.
“We love this. The fact that we see everybody getting excited for it and feeling good about our team and about our chance at winning some games, that’s what’s exciting for us.”
What did you think of Alzner on the second pair and separated from his test driving buddy? Do you look at his beard every April and feel inadequate as a human?
Read more: Japers Rink
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