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Monday, April 14, 2014

Season in Review 2013-2014: Karl Alzner

Karl Alzner has been one of our most consistent defensemen the Capitals have had in recent years.  I mean, he is literally about as consistent as it gets.  In a comparison with his last 82 game season, the 2011-2012 season, his numbers are literally almost identical.  Let's look at some of his numbers.  All numbers are obtained from Extra Skater, numbers are from all game situations.

Season  GP G A TOI/60  S  Pen  PenD ShB HitF  HitA
2011-2012    82 1 16   20.6 56   13    6 139 74  135
2013-2014   82 2 16   20.1 95   13   11 158 73  130

I mean, how crazy is that?  He had just one more goal this season than two seasons ago, just .5 less in time on ice per game, the same amount of penalties taken, just one less hit and just five less taken.  That's pretty remarkable.  But then, you look at the total shots he took, and Alzner took just under twice as many shots on goal.  Unfortunately, it didn't equate to more goals, but it is still good to see that he is shooting the puck more.  He also drew nearly twice as many penalties, and, considering the Caps had the highest power play percentage with 23.4 percent, the penalties Alzner drew converted to about two or three goals.  Not bad.  It is also great to see that he blocked 19 shots more this year.   His 20.1 minutes per game was 4th on the team, and his 158 blocked shots ranked 2nd behind his buddy John Carlson.  Alzner also was second on the team in penalty kill minutes per game, averaging 3.4 minutes per game  Now, lets compare his corsi (measures shots all shots taken, used to measure possession), fenwick (same things as corsi, minus blocked shots), his PDO (save percentage + shooting percentage, used to measure.  The more above 100, the luckier the player was, the more below 100, the more unlucky) numbers for these two seasons.  Again, these numbers were obtained from extra skater in 5 on 5 close situations.  Close situations means that the game is tied in any period, or it's a one goal game in the first or second period.  The reasoning for this is that game situations change if the game is a blowout or whatever, so if the game is close, ideally, both teams are playing as best and as hard as they can.

Season  CF  CA    CF%   C% Rel   FF   FA   FF% FF% Rel  PDO
2011-2012   698  744   48.4%    -1.4%  514  527  49.4%   -0.5% 101.1
2013-2014  703  815   46.3%    -2.0%  532  592  47.3%   -0.2%   99.9

So while Alzner (or his teammates) was taking more shots this year than his last 82 game season, he was also surrendering more shots.  The C% Rel and FF% Rel measures his numbers compared to each individual players average of their corsi and fenwick numbers.  So, his corsi and fenwick numbers aren't as good as his average teammates. But, you also have to keep in mind that Alzner plays against the opposing teams top forward lines, which he averages 26.9% of his ice time against the oppositions top forward lines, according to extra skater.  Alzner spent the majority of his playing time with Nicklas Backstrom, Troy Brouwer and Marcus Johansson, and his defensive partners were generally Carlson and Green. So really, based on his numbers, Alzner has done an average job at playing top line minutes.


The thing to take away from Alzner's season is the fact that he is proving to be extremely consistent.  He won't by any means record a ton of points, but he will play smart defensively.  He's only 25 years old, and he will continue to learn more and more, until it just becomes clock work.  The Caps have a true stud in Alzner.

It's also no secret that he and Carlson are probably the most technically sound defensemen we have.  He is capable of playing the top line minutes.  I would say he makes an adequate top line defenseman and a deadly second line defenseman.  He is well spoken, and an excellent teammate.  Alzner is signed through the 2016-2017 NHL season, so we will continue seeing Alzner through his prime NHL years.


Alzner's Grade:  B+

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