CSNWashington.com Capitals Insider Chuck Gormley will evaluate the 2012-13 performance of each player on the Caps roster. One breakdown will occur every weekday in alphabetical order. Today: Karl Alzner
Position: Left Defense
Ht/Wt: 6-3, 217
Penalty minutes: 14
Average Ice Time: 20:57
Contract Status: Restricted free agent [$1.285 million cap hit in 2012-13]
Strengths: Since he was given a full-time role with the Caps at the start of the 2010-11 season, Alzner has been Mr. Reliable, playing in 212 straight games. He and John Carlson are the only two Caps who have achieved that feat over the past three years. Alzner played the second half of this season paired with Mike Green and rediscovered his ability to skate with the puck under Adam Oates’ new system. He is the Caps’ most reliable and positionally sound defensive defenseman.
Weaknesses: After posting a combined plus-26 in his first two full NHL seasons Alzner was a career-worst minus-6 this year, mostly because of a rough start when he was on the ice for 17 goals in the first 10 games. He rebounded nicely in the playoffs with one goal, one assist [matching Alex Ovechkin] and a plus-3 rating while covering Rick Nash like a Snuggie.
Memorable moment: Alzner scored his first career playoff goal in Game 4 against the Rangers at MadisonSquareGarden when an innocent wrist shot appeared to deflect off the back of Mathieu Perreault and behind Henrik Lundqvist. The goal drew the Caps within 4-3 with 7:31 gone in the third period but the Caps could not score the equalizer and returned home with the series tied at 2-2.
2013-14 expectations: It’s a safe bet Alzner will earn a sizeable raise this summer but the expectations on him won’t change. He skated with the puck more this season than in his previous two and under Adam Oates’ system he’ll be asked to do more of that next season. His 39 shots in 48 games would have given him a career high in shots over 82 games and with a little work on his shot over the summer it’s not unrealistic to expect Alzner to improve on his five career goals in his first 263 games.